NIMBY ALARM BELLS

Un­rest in sub­urbs is adding to state’s hous­ing pressure

Sunday Tasmanian - - Front Page - ANNE MATHER [email protected]

TAS­MA­NI­ANS have been urged to show more com­pas­sion and stop their “NIMBY” at­ti­tude to­wards af­ford­able hous­ing projects de­signed to ease the state’s hous­ing cri­sis.

Shel­ter Tas­ma­nia chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Pat­tie Chugg says some Tas­ma­ni­ans have adopted a “not in my back­yard” mind­set – de­spite 8000 Tas­ma­nian house­holds liv­ing in hous­ing stress.

The state’s largest builder of af­ford­able hous­ing, Cen­tacare Evolve Hous­ing, has re­cently faced com­mu­nity back­lash over two projects - one at Sca­man­der and one at Black­mans Bay.

“The im­por­tance of pro­vid­ing new stock is crit­i­cal and ur­gent,” the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s chief ex­ec­u­tive Ben Wil­son said.

TAS­MA­NI­ANS have been urged to show more com­pas­sion and stop their “NIMBY” at­ti­tude to­wards af­ford­able hous­ing projects de­signed to al­le­vi­ate the state’s spi­ralling hous­ing cri­sis.

The state’s peak emer­gency hous­ing or­gan­i­sa­tion says some Tas­ma­ni­ans have adopted a “not in my back­yard” mind­set – de­spite 8000 Tas­ma­nian house­holds liv­ing in hous­ing stress.

Shel­ter Tas­ma­nia chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Pat­tie Chugg said the chronic short­fall in af­ford­able hous­ing re­quired ur­gent de­liv­ery of homes across all sub­urbs and re­gions, yet com­mu­nity “back­lash” was prevent­ing some de­vel­op­ments from pro­gress­ing.

“In con­trast to the wel­come gen­eros­ity many people have shown, we are see­ing NIMBY (not in my back­yard) re­sponses ob­ject­ing to the prospect of af­ford­able hous­ing de­vel­op­ments in their neigh­bour­hoods,” she said.

Ms Chugg said ev­ery home not built meant some­one was miss­ing out on the home they need. “We need to re­mem­ber that all homes are built in some­one’s back­yard.”

The state’s largest builder of af­ford­able hous­ing, Cen­tacare Evolve Hous­ing, has faced com­mu­nity op­po­si­tion over two projects re­cently - one at Sca­man­der and one at Black­mans Bay.

The or­gan­i­sa­tion’s chief ex­ec­u­tive Ben Wil­son ap­pealed for people to be in­clu­sive.

“In a mar­ket where Tas­ma­nia has be­come the most un­af­ford­able state in Aus­tralia for renters, the im­por­tance of pro­vid­ing new stock is crit­i­cal and ur­gent, we need sup­port from com­mu­ni­ties to share the op­por­tu­nity to live safely, in­clu­sively and pro­duc­tively with new neigh­bours,” he said.

Cen­tacare Evolve is cur­rently build­ing 238 so­cial and af­ford­able hous­ing dwellings across Tas­ma­nia, in con­junc­tion with the state and fed­eral gov­ern­ments.

The SGE Rental Af­ford­abil­ity In­dex re­leased last week showed Ho­bart rents were the least af­ford­able in the coun­try, and low-in­come house­holds were spend­ing as much as 86 per cent of their in­come on rent.

Other com­mu­nity lead­ers have spo­ken out about the need for Tas­ma­ni­ans to drop their fears and prej­u­dices about people in need of af­ford­able hous­ing.

King­bor­ough Mayor Dean Winter said a small num­ber in his com­mu­nity had ob­jected to the Black­mans Bay devel­op­ment sim­ply be­cause they did not want people from a lower so­cio-eco­nomic class liv­ing near them.

King­bor­ough Coun­cil­lor Paula Wriedt said there was prej­u­dice and a lack of com­pas­sion when af­ford­able hous­ing pro­pos­als were con­sid­ered.

“There is a lack of com­pas­sion and a lack of un­der­stand­ing of what the term af­ford­able hous­ing means,” she said.

“We’re in a sit­u­a­tion where the gen­er­a­tion of mil­len­ni­als who are about to move out of home are go­ing to be sig­nif­i­cantly im­pacted by the price of prop­erty.”

She urged Tas­ma­ni­ans to drop their prej­u­dice.

“There is an as­sump­tion that low-in­come people cause

a range of prob­lems. I find that at­ti­tude alarm­ing and plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tions shouldn’t be de­ter­mined by those prej­u­dices,” Ms Wriedt said.

Ms Chugg said the NIMBY at­ti­tude was ev­i­dent when a re­cent pro­posal for af­ford­able hous­ing at Sca­man­der was stymied.

“Dis­ap­point­ingly, in light of the need faced by so many Tas­ma­ni­ans, a re­cent pro­posal of only eight units was greeted with com­mu­nity back­lash,” she said.

The eight-unit af­ford­able hous­ing com­plex at Sca­man­der was planned to meet some of the grow­ing need on the East Coast. There are 200 people on a wait list for af­ford­able hous­ing in the Break O’Day mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

Cen­tacare Evolve Hous­ing aban­doned the Sca­man­der pro­ject last month, fol­low­ing com­mu­nity con­cern pub­lic space would be lost and the devel­op­ment would be­come a “ghetto” which at­tracted the “wrong crowd”.

Af­ter a heated com­mu­nity meet­ing, Mayor Mick Tucker said the back­lash was “just so dis­ap­point­ing and a fail­ure of the com­mu­nity to con­sider the needs of the most vul­ner­a­ble”.

Ms Chugg said af­ford­able hous­ing needed to be in­te­grated into re­gions in small scales, so the “hous­ing mis­takes of the past” were not re­peated.

TasCOSS chief ex­ec­u­tive Kym Goodes also ap­pealed for people to find their gen­er­ous spirit when af­ford­able hous­ing was pro­posed in their neigh­bour­hoods.

“Your level of in­come does not de­ter­mine your char­ac­ter,” Ms Goodes said.

“Just be­cause you may be poor and in need of so­cial hous­ing, doesn’t mean you are not a good per­son, a great neigh­bour or an en­gaged com­mu­nity mem­ber.”

Hous­ing Min­is­ter Roger Jaen­sch said the state’s Af­ford­able Hous­ing Action Plan had as­sisted more than 1600 house­holds.

This in­cluded the de­liv­ery of 984 af­ford­able lots and homes, and a sig­nif­i­cant boost to the state’s sup­ply of so­cial hous­ing, with 453 new dwellings and 351 low-in­come house­holds as­sisted into home own­er­ship.

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