Focussing on housing affordability
With housing affordability a challenge many in our community are facing, Wollongong City Council is proactively working on a draft Housing and Affordable Housing Strategy.
Once complete, the Strategy will provide Council with clear guidelines that will support decision making in terms of increased housing stock for the city’s growing population, while also protecting the area’s natural assets.
The Strategy will be supported by the delivery of a scheme in the local government area that will allow for Commonwealth grant funding to be used towards the delivery of affordable housing in the city.
Council has resolved for the grant funding, which has already had $4.3M of funding allocated through a competitive process to the Illawarra Community Housing Trust for the delivery of affordable housing, to be used to target those in greatest need of housing security.
“Over the past 12 months, we’ve seen a further shift in the city’s housing market that has seen it harder and harder for people to purchase or rent a home,’’ Wollongong City Lord Mayor Councillor Gordon Bradbery AM said.
“While Council is limited in terms of how we might influence policy that’s set by the Federal and State governments, we can put in place local mechanisms that may contribute to better opportunities for our community.’’
In addition to the potential outcomes of the grant funding allocation, these mechanisms might take the form of planning controls that take into account local environmental or infrastructure concerns, and a review of areas where medium density housing is permitted.
“Housing affordability is a complex issue and there is not a one-size-fits-all solution to this problem,’’ Cr Bradbery said.
“While Council can’t solve this issue on its own, we can be proactive and focussed on meeting our community’s concerns and needs. That’s why developing this draft Housing and Affordable Housing Strategy with the limited options that we have is so important.’’
The Strategy will take on board feedback from community consultation undertaken last year as part of a draft Options paper. As part of this engagement we heard from 69 people in the community through written submissions and an online survey.
Feedback collected through the consultation and exhibition of the draft Housing and Affordable Housing Options Paper in mid-2020 focussed on housing types, planning controls, affordable housing targets and a review of residential housing types permitted in the LGA.
Once completed, the draft Housing and Affordable Housing Strategy will be reported to Council for endorsement. If supported by Council, it will be placed on public exhibition for community feedback.