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Australian State To Trial Crisis Housing For Homeless

New South Wales will pilot the use of vacant buildings and land as temporary housing for the state's homeless.

SYDNEY — Australia’s South-eastern state government of New South Wales will trial using vacant land and buildings as temporary crisis accommodation for people at risk of homelessness.

The plan, announced as part of the state’s first housing strategy, will provide transitional housing for up to two years while longer-term housing solutions are sorted.

“We’ve reached an agreement with Wollongong Council to investigate the use of vacant buildings and land in the Wollongong area to deliver a safe home for those who desperately need it,” said Melinda Pavey, Housing Minister, on May 5.

The state will also call on other local governments, non-government organizations, and the private sector to pitch other additional projects to meet the premier’s goal of reducing homelessness by 50 percent, she said.

The 20-year, whole-of-government housing strategy launched on May 5 will urge the private sector to develop ideas for a new development of state properties.

A new online interactive mapping tool will be created to increase the transparency of the state’s portfolio and encourage private investment on public land.

The first-ever New South Wales Housing Strategy 2041 outlines a 20-year vision for better housing. The strategy will benefit people across the housing spectrum, from those without a home to those seeking accommodation that better suits their needs.

A homeless man sits outside a Woolworths supermarket in Sydney, April 29, 2021. (Mick Tsikas/AAP Image)

Key initiatives of the strategy include- establishing a cross-sector expert housing advisory panel to guide the delivery of the process. This will increase collaboration across government and the housing sector better use of government-owned land and information to develop new housing types, tenures, and delivery models, strengthening relationships with local governments, the community housing sector, and developers to trial new innovative housing solutions.

“We are always looking at how we can best leverage government-owned land and property to deliver better economic, social, environmental, and cultural outcomes for the people of New South Wales,” Pavey said.

“(The mapping tool) allows industry to put forward innovative proposals for that land to improve utilization and benefits for local communities.”

“We are working towards zero street homelessness and have signed an agreement with the Institute of Global Homelessness, along with other partners, to halve the number of people sleeping rough across NSW by 2025,” says the New South Wales’s government website.

“This Premier’s Priority means helping people experiencing street homelessness find secure and stable housing. This would place them in the best position to improve their health and wellbeing, and their educational and economic outcomes.”

The strategy, which also contains a two-year action plan, will also aim to modernize the state’s social housing portfolio, most of which was built before the 1970s, and make renting a more secure, longer-term housing option.

(Edited by Vaibhav Vishwanath Pawar and Ojaswin Kathuria)

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