Byron Shire’s housing and homelessness crisis is worsening by the week, according to a councillor.

“Byron Shire Council decided to take on the challenge of affordable housing in the background of a housing and homelessness crisis in Bryon that is steadily getting worse every week,” said Councillor Tom Tabart.

The council says that while affordable housing has become a critical issue for many communities, few NSW councils have taken on the challenge of finding solutions.

“Over the last decade, Byron Shire has seen the demand for housing push rental and purchase prices out of reach for many long-term residents and low to moderate income workers,” it said.

“Byron Shire Council, through an Affordable Housing Committee, staff, community organisations and residents, has been examining, debating, and working on the issue for nearly eight years. 

“In that time, the suitability of many Council-owned sites and other proposals for the development of new affordable housing has been assessed.

“However, the main stumbling block for many projects has usually been a lack of funding. 

“Byron Shire Council’s Draft Affordable Housing Strategy proposes new ways of approaching the problem through planning policies, voluntary agreements with developers and partnerships with private and community organisations. 

“The idea is to establish an Affordable Housing Fund that will be used to create new affordable rental housing in carefully selected sites through partnerships with public, private and community sector organisations who have land, cash and/or tenancy management services to contribute to the final project.”

Cr Tabart said: “The proposed affordable housing strategies are a bright prospect for the new term of council.

“I’m looking forward to encouraging other councils in the region to take on the issue of affordable housing.”

The draft Affordable Housing Strategy will be on public exhibition until November 18.

Community information stalls and evening workshops will be held across Byron Shire for the community to learn more about the draft Strategy and have a say on the proposals.

Dates and venues:

  • Monday October 20: Info Stand, Mullumbimby – outside Dennett’s IGA Foodstore, 62 Burringbar Street, 2pm–4pm
  • Tuesday October 21: Info Stand, Brunswick Heads – outside Centrelink, Fingal Street, 10.30am–12.30pm
  • Tuesday October 21: Info Stand, Ocean Shores Shopping Centre, Rajah Road, 2pm–4pm
  • Wednesday October 22: Info Stand, Bangalow Heritage Park (next to Post Office) Byron Street, 10.30am–12.30pm
  • Wednesday October 22: Workshop, Mullumbimby, Byron Shire Council Chambers, 5pm–7pm
  • Thursday October 23: Info Stand, Byron Farmers Market, Butler Street Reserve, 8am–11am
  • Thursday October 23: Info Stand, Byron Bay outside Woolworths, Johnson Street, 2pm–4pm
  • Thursday October 23: Workshop, Byron Community & Cultural Centre, Jonson Street, 5pm–7pm.
    For details, visit Byron Shire Council’s website