As dozens of council candidates sat in Wollongong’s Housing Trust headquarters on Tuesday night, 3500 people across the Illawarra “had nowhere safe and decent to live”.
That was the message from the housing organisation’s CEO Michelle Adairs, who called a forum to highlight the growing crisis in the Illawarra.
Ms Adairs, who became CEO five weeks ago, said there were currently 2100 people in Wollongong and 1291 in Shellharbour on the waiting list for housing, with a more than 10 year-wait for two-bedroom and three-bedroom homes.
She joined others in the property sector to call on the two cities’ prospective councillors to do more to create affordable homes.
“I know that each of your councils is aware of this issue… but we can’t keep waiting, thinking and planning – we have to act,” she said.
She said the Housing Trust wanted to partner with the councils to find solutions in the next term.
The forum coincided with the release of a major new report from the Committee for Economic Development of Australia, which said housing affordability was likely to be an issue for at least 40 years.
One report’s authors said Australia needed 20,000 new homes that were affordable on low-incomes each year.
Read more about the issue of housing online and in Thursday’s paper.