Illawarra Greens. Social justice, environmental sustainability, peace and non-violence and grassroots democracy.

Council can and should do more to solve the housing affordability crisis

Greens Councillor Mithra Cox has welcomed a proposal for Wollongong Council to spend $4.3 million on a new affordable housing scheme, which will be debated at tonight’s Council meeting, but says this is just a drop in the ocean, and that Council can and should do much more.

“This $4.3 million has been sitting with Council unspent for nine years. The housing crisis is urgent, and it is indefensible to have millions of dollars sitting in the bank where there are people in Wollongong sleeping rough every night,” Cr Cox said.

“It is a tragedy that the fastest growing group of homeless people are women aged over 50. These women are mothers and grandmothers who have worked hard all their lives, but who don’t have superannuation or may have fled domestic violence. If you find yourself relying on Centrelink, there are literally no homes to rent in Wollongong that you can afford.

“Young people can no longer afford to buy homes in the suburbs where they have grown up and their families have lived for generations.

“While there are many policy settings at the state and federal government level that could reduce housing prices - like scrapping negative gearing and the capital gains tax exemption, Council can also do a lot.

“Wollongong Council should require that 3% of all floor space in new apartment buildings be set aside for affordable housing and managed by an affordable housing provider. Other Councils already do this.

“We know that the cost of housing is based on what people can pay - or borrow, not on the cost of building that housing - which is why we should be levying the huge profits made by property developers.

“With people looking to flee major cities, and able to work from home in greater numbers than ever before, Wollongong’s house prices have jumped again, and our housing affordability crisis has worsened.

“Council has the capacity to levy new developments for affordable housing - and we should be doing everything within our control to help solve the housing affordability crisis,” Cr Cox said.

More information: Mithra Cox 0419 720 322

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