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Friday, 8 September 2017

New social housing plan in The Hills Shire

The photo shows an aerial view of the Castle Hill train station, currently under construction. The state government, in order to maximise the benefits of its new investment, has changed development restrictions along the rail corridor, raising the height to which dwellings can be built. As a result, groups of residents are selling combined lots of properties to developers for astronomical sums. Developers are then putting up blocks of flats for Sydney commuters.

But the local council has come up with a plan to leverage some of this activity for philanthropic purposes. The mayor, Yvonne Keane, has worked with developers, the state government, social housing providers, and the police to come up with a plan to provide “transitional housing” for people who find themselves without a home.

“For some time, I’ve been thinking of ways in which The Hills Shire Council might play a key role in delivering tools to help our community respond to domestic violence. We have a wonderful women’s shelter, The Sanctuary, but the missing link is transitional housing,” Mayor Keane said.

“Transitional housing provides safe, comfortable and secure accommodation for women and their children to recover, re-build and make informed and empowered decisions about their lives and their future.”

The way the plan - which is yet to be approved by the NSW government - will work, is that developers will give the council some of their new housing stock in applicable developments for a period of ten years to use for social housing. In return, the council will allow the developer to increase the number of units they build in each applicable development. This is what the Government News story calls “an ‘uplift’ in development yield”.

“The model allows for transition dwellings to be provided in well-located and serviced areas at no direct cost to council, federal and state governments and the community,” according to the story in Government News.

I have been writing a series of blogposts on homelessness on this blog, since July. The story the current post is based on appeared one day in my Facebook feed, in a clear case that the site is “listening” to me, and wants to deliver things to me that make me happy, so that I will spend more time on the site. This is what Mark Pesce calls “the weaponization of influence”.

1 comment:

Gavin Heaton said...

Castle Hill is my LGA - so I've been keen to see how it plays out. Great plan.
Interestingly, we've just had a vote for a new mayor today, so let's see what happens next.