AS experts and social workers meet tonight in Warrnambool to tackle the issue of homelessness, the city council’s first policy document on affordable housing is filtering into the community.
Nanjing Night Net

It sets a framework to achieve a sustainable housing supply and better designs.

One of the first steps towards achieving the goal will be to help organise a regional forum this year with a wide range of stakeholders sharing ideas on how to make housing more affordable.

It is hoped the forum will guide development of an advocacy and action plan on future commitment to finding solutions.

The median residential property price in Warrnambool rose 250 per cent between 2000 and 2010 and rental prices are among the highest in regional Victoria.

Mayor Jacinta Ermacora said the new policy would look at how to continue to make Warrnambool housing affordable for new residents, young families and people with disabilities and on low incomes.

“It allows us to be creative and play a role in demonstrating innovative design and social housing models,” she said.

The policy says the impact of unaffordable housing is unevenly distributed across the community, with lone parents and their children, single people, young people and older people experiencing the worst outcomes.

“Affordable housing also has significant impact on the liveability and economic prosperity or the community.

“A lack of affordable housing has a negative impact on workforce attraction and is a barrier to attracting tertiary students.”

Policy objectives include advocating for sufficient supply of social and public housing, support best-practice urban design and ensure residential housing maintains a liveable community.

Cr John Harris said the policy would help the council put pressure on governments to address issues affecting country people.

“People have a right to affordable housing and government has a duty to make that happen,” he said.

Cr Peter Hulin said the council also had a responsibility to work with developers on reducing land holding costs, which would result in lower prices.

Tonight’s forum on homelessness will be at the Archie Graham Community Centre in Timor Street, and is scheduled to run from 6pm to 8.30pm.

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