Mary-Faeth Chenery

The need for affordable housing is extreme all over Australia including in Hepburn Shire. Safe Place, a local advocacy group working for more affordable housing in the Shire, is hosting a community forum in June to generate ideas and solutions for our local situation. ‘It takes a village!’ expresses the idea that we all have something to contribute to solving the housing problem here.

The Safe Place community forum on affordable housing will be held on the 26 June, 2022, from 2-4 pm in the Senior Citizens Room behind the Daylesford Town Hall in Vincent Street.

Hepburn Shire faces a housing crisis for a significant number of its citizens:  around 50 locals were homeless in 2020 – quite possibly more are now homeless – 484 additional social housing rental units are needed to meet the need across the Shire and around 500 households in the Shire are currently in housing stress because they pay more than 30% of their household income on housing costs. Businesses can’t find staff because there are very few affordable rentals in the Shire. Families are moving away because their lease is up and there is no affordable local housing.

Access to affordable housing is a basic human right and a significant determinant of community health and well-being. Every member of our community deserves a safe and appropriate place to live. Everyone needs a home. Notwithstanding the renewed attention promised to affordable housing at the Federal level, Safe Place feels it takes a village to make progress soon.

Safe Place is a small group of concerned Hepburn Shire citizens who came together in 2017 to help address homelessness and the affordable housing shortage in the Shire. Safe Place is now an incorporated association with the purpose to help relieve homelessness and housing stress by increasing the stock of homes that are affordable, available and suitable for those who are physically, mentally, socially or financially disadvantaged.

Guest speakers Rob Pradolin from Housing All Australians and David Holmgren, Permaculture co-originator and Retrosuburbia author, will set the stage and challenge the community to find local solutions. Damien Kennedy, Strategic Advisor for Hepburn Shire Council, will update the group on progress being made by Council to create an Affordable Housing Strategy for the Shire. The Forum will provide a place to engage community members and housing experts to stimulate a village approach to affordable housing for Hepburn Shire.

Ideas and issues from last year’s Community Forum will also be reviewed and new ideas sought. Whatever your area of interest or concern, there’s a place for it here:  the housing needs of young people; small-footprint housing; possibilities for home sharing and conversion of multi-bedroom homes to several units; increasing long term rentals; finding land; developing the Council affordable housing strategy – all need work, all need from local ‘villagers’.

For further information, contact Mary-Faeth Chenery, or 0428 481 754.