NIMBY ALARM BELLS
Unrest in suburbs is adding to state’s housing pressure
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.