Tran­si­tional Hous­ing: The ge­nius so­lu­tion that could solve hous­ing for the home­less

Hills to Hawkesbury Living Magazine - - Community News -

Martin Place’s re­cent tent city has high­lighted the plight of home­less peo­ple in search of find­ing sta­ble and last­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion.

In my role as both Mayor of The Hills Shire and Chair of The Sanc­tu­ary, I have many con­ver­sa­tions with mem­bers of the com­mu­nity about do­mes­tic vi­o­lence. I con­stantly hear the same ques­tion over and over again: “Why don’t women just leave?”

Given the re­al­ity of hous­ing af­ford­abil­ity and the ris­ing cost of liv­ing, this ques­tion pretty much an­swers it­self.

Tran­si­tional hous­ing is dif­fer­ent from af­ford­able hous­ing and from so­cial hous­ing. Tran­si­tional hous­ing is the es­sen­tial ‘nextstep’ to­wards a life of real in­de­pen­dence.

It ul­ti­mately pro­vides a safe, com­fort­able and se­cure place for so­ci­ety’s most vul­ner­a­ble, to recover, re-build, thrive and make in­formed and em­pow­ered de­ci­sions about their lives. The aim of "tran­si­tion­ing" is to help women to ul­ti­mately achieve won­der­ful and in­de­pen­dent lives, not lives en­tirely de­pen­dent on so­cial hous­ing.

On Tuesday, 25 July 2017, The Hills Shire Coun­cil made his­tory af­ter my fel­low Coun­cil­lors and I unan­i­mously voted to im­ple­ment the Tran­si­tional Hous­ing Pol­icy Frame­work.

Our in­no­va­tive pol­icy pro­poses a new pro­vi­sion in The Hills Lo­cal En­vi­ron­men­tal Plan 2012 which pro­vides a capped bonus to en­cour­age will­ing devel­op­ers to pro­vide tran­si­tional hous­ing as part of new res­i­den­tial de­vel­op­ments.

The pol­icy would al­low a de­vel­oper who meets the cri­te­ria, to build two ad­di­tional dwellings for ev­ery tran­si­tional home pro­vided. And we have capped the "up­lift" to a max­i­mum of three tran­si­tional homes per devel­op­ment.

While the num­bers of tran­si­tional units would be rel­a­tively small in the over­all scheme of things, the ben­e­fit it could pro­vide for our most vul­ner­a­ble could be enor­mous.

The tran­si­tional homes would re­main the prop­erty of the de­vel­oper and would be man­aged by com­mu­nity hous­ing providers or not-for-profit or­gan­i­sa­tions, and would be re­turned to the de­vel­oper af­ter a set pe­riod of time.

I am so enor­mously proud of this pol­icy and I am even more proud that we will be the first Coun­cil in the coun­try to of­fer a new model for tran­si­tional hous­ing and de­liver it in such a way that there is no cost to the ratepayer.

Yvonne Keane is the Mayor of The Hills Shire Coun­cil, Chair of the Board of the Sanc­tu­ary, sits on the NSW Women's Coun­cil for Eco­nomic Op­por­tu­nity and is an elected Di­rec­tor of Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment NSW.

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