New home for local housing challenge conversation

Home Matters: Lee Rickward
Home Matters: Lee Rickward

A LOBBY group examining the challenge of housing affordability in the Bellinger and Nambucca valleys has rescheduled a film screening and community conversation after an initial date had to be abandoned due to localised flooding.

The Housing Matters Action Group will now press ahead with their event on Wednesday January 13, from 5.30-7.30pm at the Bellingen Memorial Hall.

The event will include the screening of the short film Home Matters, which will be followed by a Q&A.

Panelists will include Bellingen Shire mayor Dominic King, Housing Matters Action Group chair Kerry Pearse and BRANCH Housing Co-op chair and filmmaker Kell Stoner.

The conversation aims to address the heightened stress aroused by the current housing crisis in the region.

The film follows the members of the Bellingen Nambucca Affordable Housing Action Group from its inception in 2017 when the local community first came together to discuss increasing community concerns around the lack of affordable housing. The film captures personal stories interwoven with the action group's journey to date, and tracks their efforts to inform the recently approved Bellingen Shire Local Housing Strategy Action Plan 2020-2040.

"We know that housing stress is very real for many people in our region. We want to reignite the discussion started in our first affordable housing forum three years ago and fast track momentum for change," Kerry Pearse said.

"The housing affordability gap is so great that local working families can no longer afford to live in many parts of the region. Rentals have dried up and real estate prices are skyrocketing as COVID refugees flee the cities.

"The influx of workers for the Coffs Bypass is only going to put more pressure on the local housing system. Where are people going to live?

"We need thoughtful, open dialogue and creative local responses as well as government policy action to find a way through this."

Mayor Dominic King: "Bellingen has a strong history of community driven action. We invite the local community, new and existing, to be part of the solution and participate in this important discussion that affects us all."

Home Matters reminds audiences that the grassroots can create positive change and that everyone deserves a safe, secure and affordable home.

Date: Wednesday January 13, 5.30-7.00pm (arrive at 5 for a 5.30 start). Location: Bellingen Memorial Hall, 35 Hyde St. Tickets: Free, but registrations are essential to ensure this is a COVID safe event - https://events.humanitix.com/home-matters

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This story Local housing crisis fuelled by COVID refugees, highway workers first appeared on The Bellingen Shire Courier Sun.