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