Hatcher: affordable housing

Mathew Hatcher - Mayor Eurobodalla Shire posts: Over the past two years, bushfires, multiple floods, business downturn and the ongoing pandemic have wreaked havoc across our community and exacerbated our shire's housing and homelessness crisis. I have been contacted by several people this week who are having to resort to sleeping in their car with children due to a lack of available housing. This is simply not good enough, and as a community we have to do better. We now find ourselves in an emergency situation and I have initiated a briefing with council staff and elected councillors to better understand the situation across our shire. Council will brief all councillors on the housing challenges and homelessness impacts across our shire. Stakeholders from the not-for-profit sector will join us to ensure we aren’t duplicating work already being done and identify gaps. I will also speak with Andrew Constance, Fiona Phillips & Kristy McBain on how they can provide assistance. There is no doubt you have all seen the impacts of this housing crisis. However, it is now at the point where even those that can afford to pay can’t find a house and through no fault of their own, find themselves homeless. After the fires there was a call for the community to support those who lost everything and to open their doors to them. You answered that call then and I hope you will answer it this time. As part of a radical, immediate solution I once again ask the community to consider opening your homes to people in need of short term accommodation. This is a complex issue we are going to have to tackle from many different fronts, but our immediate issue is simply the need for more beds so our residents have a safe place to sleep while we develop longer term solutions. Our community is already vulnerable and we have a lack of community services and mental health experts. We are only as strong as our weakest link and we must support each other. I encourage you to see the bigger picture and become part of the solution. Nothing worth doing is ever easy and rarely can be done alone.