In late 2017 the shortage of affordable housing brought together a group of local people and organisations to form the Bellingen & Nambucca Affordable Housing Action Group.
Their second Local Solutions Forum will be held May 30-31 at the Uniting Church in Bellingen, showcasing the exciting initiatives and developments that have emerged since the group's successful 2018 forum.
Forum organiser Rose West says this year's forum will be an opportunity to learn more about the action group's work and get involved in the emerging solutions.
"We are a committed group of people taking great ideas forward, like the community land trust model and tiny homes," she said. "We hope people come along to the forum to engage with these projects and possibly get involved too."
During the forum Kim Connolly will open her tiny home to the public as a fundraiser for the action group's work. The tour will cost $2. As an action group volunteer and tiny homes advocate, Kim is also excited to be presenting at the forum. She will speak about her commitment to address the issue of rising homelessness among older, single women.
"I passionately believe older, single women deserve a safe, affordable and appropriate place to call home," Kim Connolly said. "My work is focused on creating a tiny home village for women so they can age in place with the dignity and security they deserve."
The forum will also include a number of key speakers and panels that will focus on the approaches that can work in our community.
Key speaker, Adrian Pisarski, executive officer of National Shelter, will argue that affordable housing should be viewed as necessary infrastructure that underpins economic, social and cultural participation. Adrian's presentation will speak to the need for a national housing strategy that addresses housing affordability and rising costs of living.
Dr Gregory Smith from Southern Cross University will present at both the forum and the fundraiser dinner, which is being held on Thursday May 30 at 6pm at the Cedar Bar & Kitchen. Gregory will share his extraordinary life story that charts the lived reality of homelessness and survival on the margins.
His early life was marked by trauma and alienation, which drove him to abandon society and walk into a Northern NSW rain forest with only the possessions he could carry. There he lived as a quiet recluse for the next ten years. Gregory will share why he left the forest, still so marked by trauma, grief and physical deterioration, to ultimately obtain a PhD and become a lecturer at Southern Cross University.
Rose is hopeful that this year's forum will touch a chord with local people about an issue that many care about.
"We think that this year's forum will be an interesting and engaging chance for attendees to hear about our work and participate in a constructive discussion that is focussed on creating better solutions for our community. I really believe that together we can make a difference."
For the full forum program, or to find out more, contact Rose at firstname.lastname@example.org or register at https://events.humanitix.com.au/affordable-housing-forum