Mayors Message - 11 October 2022
Fixing the shortage of social and affordable rental housing in Bass Coast is one of the priorities of the Council.
The serious lack of housing is stopping families moving to our regions to fill critical job vacancies, while others are simply unable to find homes to live in, which is simply unacceptable.
I have previously said the search for solution could include people renting out their holiday homes on long-term leases. But fixing the housing crisis will require many different solutions, which is why councillors recently met with the organisers behind Homes for Homes, a long-term, sustainable solution to increasing the supply of social and affordable housing.
The Big Issue established Homes for Homes to provide a way for the whole community to work together to solve homelessness. The program raises funds through voluntary donations from donors, both individuals and property developers, agreeing to include a register their property with Homes for Homes. When the homeowner sells their home, they are invited to make a tax-deductible donation of 0.1% of the sale price to Homes for Homes.
Importantly, the registration remains with the property after the sale, encouraging the incoming homeowner to also consider making a contribution in the future when they sell.
Councils across Australia are looking at different ways to support Homes for Homes either through providing uplift or fast tracking for participating developers and by introducing Homes for Homes to their existing residents. Some councils are considering making Homes for Homes compulsory on all future planning permits.
Recently several Melbourne developments included Homes for Homes in their planning permit application, with Homes for Homes working closely with the developers and planners to achieve a positive social outcome.
Homes for Homes has granted over $1.28 million toward a diverse portfolio of 13 projects in only a few short years. All grant funds are allocated to raise the supply of social and affordable housing. The creation of new housing means that there is less housing stress and more people have a safe and secure place to sleep each night. Funds have been granted across VIC, ACT, NT and QLD. Later in 2022, Homes for Homes will grant a further $160,000 across NSW and WA.
Homelessness impacts many people in different ways and Homes for Homes looks to fund projects that support the diverse range of people experiencing homelessness and housing stress. Grant funds have so far helped to create housing for a range of people in need, including families living in housing stress, women over 55 escaping family violence, affordable tenancies for people in Aboriginal communities and people with mental illness cared for by aging parents.
Expert Housing Advisory Groups advise on the best projects to fund, based on the greatest housing need and which projects will make the most impact.
The registration with Homes for Homes would not compete with any existing Bass Coast Shire policies, rather, it would run in parallel.
Bass Coast will continue to explore how to support Homes for Homes, so that donations raised via developers who create housing in Bass Coast Council can remain within Bass Coast. This means that our local area will benefit from a boost in social and affordable housing.
Homes for Homes is certainly an interesting idea, and one worth exploring because we are committed to addressing the chronic lack of social and affordable housing. It’s a simple way of making a big difference.