We asked some of the candidates for the Yarra Ranges Council Elections some questions we thought were important about homelessness.

Question 1.
What is your knowledge or understanding of homelessness or the lack of affordable housing in Yarra Ranges ?

Matthew Musilli – Billanook Ward

I know that homelessness in the Yarra Ranges and the distinct lack of affordable housing are intrinsically linked and need to be tackled together. The more social housing and crisis accommodation we have, the more people we can help either stay on their feet or get back on their feet.

At the 2016 census, it was recorded that the Yarra Ranges had 366 people experiencing homelessness, I can only imagine what the actual number of homeless people was as this survey cannot pick up everyone. Fast forward to June 2020 there were 1,919 people on the social housing waiting list in the Yarra Ranges alone.

That is 1,919 people too many and I believe our Council can do much more to address this huge issue in our community. As a young person, I personally know people who have been at extreme risk of becoming homeless for various reasons, family violence, unaccepting parents of LGBTIQ children, economic situations etc.

If elected this is something I want to work with our community groups to address asap.

Peter Killin – Billanook Ward

Regardless of my current knowledge, I see it as a great opportunity to bring a fresh-eyes perspective into homelessness and in fact into all areas of council.

When I read council’s “Guiding Principles Housing and Homelessness” I don’t get the impression that there is actually anything being done.

They mention making “…Council-owned land available for affordable housing developments”. OK, so where is the land?

The small park opposite Centrelink is not popular with the locals – not in our backyard thank you! There is land at Seville, but what is happening with that?

Jim Fuller House is a good example.

In my opinion council has taken perhaps one step forward and several steps backward in the last term:

  • Teamed up to create Rapid response team – have good reports on this.
  • Shutting Down Stable One at a moment’s notice – shows little care for people with nowhere to go.

Council says they want to “Enable the availability of a range of housing options to meet the needs across the age continuum.”

Would this include a change in planning regulations that allows for good quality independent-persons type units built in backyards (or dare I suggest even in green wedge areas!)

Tim Heenan – Billanook Ward

I have a long standing knowledge of the understanding of acute homelessness in the Outer East, in particular Yarra Ranges. The reason for this is a complete lack of understanding of the different types of homelessness in rooming houses with limited tenure, couch surfing, particularly young people, sleeping in cars, which has risen substantially in the 2015 census, or sleeping rough. There are many different facets of homelessness.

The lack of affordable housing in Yarra Ranges has been something that has never been able to be lessened. People on welfare have a 0.5% of affording the steep rentals.

Lisa Di Battista – Billanook Ward

According to a recent report, youth homelessness has worsened in the Yarra Ranges (DScribe 2019). Despite this situation, there is still a lack of affordable housing in Lilydale. In particular, there is no crises or transitional housing available or for that matter new low-cost rentals available.

Damian Arthur  – Chandler Ward

Practically no understanding at all.

Roxanne Horn  – Chandler Ward

I first became aware of our homelessness problem when I read the Yarra Ranges Health and Well-being profile from 2017. Since then, I’ve been lucky enough to chat with volunteers working in this area and this has given me more insight into what is already being done around the Yarra Ranges to help reduce our rates of homelessness and what support is needed going forward.

Vanessa Cumming – Chirnside Ward

I graduated from Mount Lilydale Mercy College in 2016. Whilst being a student there I was involved in a religious elective class CSYMA (Catholic Schools Youth Ministry Australia) for 2 years. During this time, I slowly became aware of the issues with homelessness in Lilydale and neighbouring suburbs, learning that a few people who were in my year level were homeless – it was very eye-opening. I would admit that my knowledge on the severity of this issue is low, but knowing many people who are or have been homeless in the area, I understand that it is an issue that needs to be addressed and I would be willing to have a chat with you to better understand the issue more in-depth.

Are there any statistics that you could provide so that I can create more awareness to this issue? From my understanding, the majority of people who are homeless in the Yarra Ranges are our youth and most are in category 2 of homelessness (couch surfing or sleeping in cars). Please correct me if I am wrong as I am eager to learn as much as I can about the severity of these issues.

David Scanlon – Chirnside Ward

I was aware that there is a lack of affordable housing in the Yarra Ranges.

William Brindle – Lyster Ward

Pre Covid, homelessness was a major issue in Yarra Ranges. Post Covid it will intensify. How we deal with it and more importantly, the resources which we allocate to it,  reflects the values which we have as a community. Council needs to step up here … it’s time for a little bravery and a lot less talk. I believe that we are entering a period where normal responses won’t cut it – not that they ever did. Fortune favours the bold and we won’t cut through bias and cognitive dissonance without some bravery and hard work.

Nerida Forster  – Melba Ward

I know there are far too many people in vulnerable, desperate situations and that homelessness is a significant issue in the Yarra Ranges.

We have no emergency accommodation available for people. People experiencing domestic violence have very few options.

Sophie Todorov  – Melba Ward

Having worked in Yarra Ranges for over 19 years, I have seen first-hand the difficulties in accessing affordable housing and crisis accommodation. Homelessness statistics in Yarra Ranges are sometimes difficult to establish due to a lack of data capturing and even defining what homelessness is. For eg. ‘couch surfing’ is not often seen as being homeless, but it actually is. I would guess there are hundreds of people in Yarra Ranges who are unfortunately homeless.

Incidents including family violence, critical incidents or sudden unemployment leave people homeless and if there is an option of crisis accommodation, it is usually many many kilometres away. This leaves the vulnerable even more at risk of social isolation and disconnection from their familiar community and surrounds.

I see homelessness a bigger challenge than ever.

Don D Battista  – Melba Ward

I am well aware of the lack of affordable housing generally within the Yarra Ranges, and the unfortunate levels of homelessness. The current market has caused housing, particularly new housing opportunities, to be prohibitively expensive for many families, individuals and retirees.

Mia McGregor – Lyster Ward

My understanding is that homelessness takes many forms in Yarra Ranges, from young people couch surfing, people living in insecure housing, people sleeping in cars or sleeping rough. I experienced tertiary homelessness myself in my early 20’s, though not in this area.  I also believe that providing a safe home first, as part of a broader social housing framework, is the way to stem the increase in homelessness. Only then can the compounding set of circumstances which leads to homelessness be properly addressed to enable better outcomes for vulnerable people facing extreme adversity.  I was a strong proponent of the Launch Housing tiny homes in Footscray, when I was a Councillor in the City of Maribyrnong.  These have been hugely successful and it’s really heartwarming.

Fiona McCallister – Ryrie Ward

Good to hear from you and yes, I am very aware that homelessness and lack of affordable housing is a substantial problem within Yarra Ranges. I am greatly concerned that the issues are going to worsen given the level of unemployment and financial stress on our community at the moment.

Doug MacDonald – Streeton Ward

I have very little knowledge in this area.

Andrew Fullagar – Streeton Ward

I have some knowledge, but not enough.  You presented at the Upwey Exchange that I organized last year.  I’m keen to learn more.

David Vincent – Streeton Ward

To be honest I have little knowledge of the extent of the homelessness issue locally.  My experience stems more from supporting WhiteLions; I’m sure you’ve heard of them and the work they do with youth homelessness.   So, in general terms I am familiar with the relationship of homelessness with domestic violence and mental health issues, along with the fact that indigenous Australians are far more impacted.   Given that the Shire of Yarra Ranges has one of the largest Aboriginal communities in this region of Victoria, I expect we are seeing a large number of unnoticed issues.

I do consider myself to be socially aware and the very fact that I’m not across the actual extent on my back door is probably consistent with many people.  I wasn’t aware it was an issue locally, so have been focussed on helping out other areas.

In terms of affordable housing, I’ve got a better level of insight and that’s really been boosted over the last week or so.   I’ve been walking around the area that I’m seeking to represent dropping off campaign leaflets.   According to my Fitbit I’ve walked 118km around the area.  What I’ve seen is a total lack of affordable housing in the area.    This is very clearly a middle class residential area – there is a significant number of houses that are being renovated, there are very large blocks and even those houses that are in poor state of repair are typically owner-occupied.   Before running for council I did some research on the local demographics and it’s evident that the majority of people are owner-occupiers, with a very small number of rental properties; and those tend not to be affordable.

Outside of my immediate area, I think we are better served in the more densely populated areas like Kilsyth, Lilydale and Chirnside Park with some (and it’s just some) more affordable housing options, but it’s not been a focus of Council in the past, and it’s not really present in planning considerations – the Housing Strategy is quite passive in terms of being generally supportive, but in reality it seems that property development and financial return go hand in hand much more strongly than property development for social good.

Brett Nangle – Walling Ward

Yes I have knowledge and understanding of homelessness, and that there is an urgent issue to access affordable housing.  With the many developments going on in the Yarra Ranges, the council has had many opportunities to start alleviating some of the problems but the Councillors have shown their ignorance to the predicament the most vulnerable face.

Bec Brannigan  – Walling Ward

Mental Health and Domestic Violence are close to my heart, and both of these I know will lead to Homelessness. I know our area is lacking in services for all of these.

Tony Stephenson  – Walling Ward

Homelessness and the lack of affordable housing is sadly wide spread across the eastern and south-eastern region of Melbourne including Yarra Ranges. I hate it when we have to treat people in terms of numbers but without being able to quantify the problem it’s hard to advocate to other levels of government to solve this alarming and widespread situation. The 2016 Census indicates that there are 7,916 homeless persons across Eastern and Southern Melbourne. I think that make actually understate the problem as it’s hard to capture census data from people without a home. The under investment in social housing is demonstrated by growing waiting lists – there are 17,717 households in the south and east of Melbourne on the social housing waitlist.

Question 2.
Do you know that there is no crisis accommodation in Yarra Ranges for families, young people or older people?

Matthew Musilli – Billanook Ward

I am aware of this and it is simply not good enough, a lot of private organisations such as charities and church groups take up this burden in the absence of any government support and that is not fair on all involved.

We need a Councillor who can effectively advocate to the state and federal government to work in partnership with Yarra Ranges Council to construct some crisis accommodation for our community, this is a basic first step that needs to happen.

Peter Killin – Billanook Ward

Yes I do.

I can’t see anything in the “Guiding Principles Housing and Homelessness”  that tells me they are actually doing anything to change that.

Tim Heenan – Billanook Ward

I’m acutely aware and have been for a long time, that Yarra Ranges has never been considered for a crisis accommodation.

Lisa Di Battista – Billanook Ward

Yes, the Yarra Ranges Council have stated in a recent public meeting that they have not provided such provisions to date.

Damian Arthur  – Chandler Ward

No, I was not aware this is the case.

Roxanne Horn  – Chandler Ward

Yes and I’m honestly shocked and ashamed by this.

Vanessa Cumming – Chirnside Ward

I had a similar question from a lady last week who made me aware of this and it honestly surprises and shocks me. This would be an important point to bring up in Council. The more crisis accommodation the better as it essential that people feel safe and cared for.

David Scanlon – Chirnside Ward

I did not know that there is no crisis accommodation, and that is disappointing to learn.

William Brindle – Lyster Ward

I was not aware that crisis accommodation was non existent in Yarra Ranges for the people mentioned.  I am aware now and am more than happy to adopt the cause – working with whoever has expertise and experience in this field.

Sophie Todorov  – Melba Ward

I am aware of this alarming situation, and saddened to hear that Stable One can no longer offer their refuge in Yarra Ranges. I also highlighted this crisis on my social media during Homelessness Week in August. Coincidentally it was snowing in outer Yarra Ranges and our thoughts went out to those people without adequate or stable shelter. Anecdotally, I have known of children from the outer Yarra Valley having to be relocated to crisis accommodation in Werribee overnight and wonder, how on earth will those children get to school the next day?

Nerida Forster  – Melba Ward

Yes I am aware of this. I feel really vehemently this needs to change. As a community we know about the devastating realities of domestic violence, but the option available to survivors are extremely limited. We can do more- so we must!

Don Di Battista  – Melba Ward

I am aware of the lack of crisis accommodation, the Council must collaborate with the State Government and NGOs to resolve this matter.

Mia McGregor – Lyster Ward

Yes, I understood that was the case from the Yarra Ranges Housing Action Group.

Fiona McCallister – Ryrie Ward

Yes, I am aware that there is no crisis accommodation in YR for families, young people and older people – a fact which still astounds and makes me feel ashamed.

Doug MacDonald – Streeton Ward

No, I did not know this.

Andrew Fullagar – Streeton Ward

Yes, and it’s a very complicated problem to fix.

David Vincent – Streeton Ward

I did not know this, but I am not surprised.     What is also challenging for the Yarra Ranges is the sheer size of the Shire, and the spectrum of land use/residential type that presents issues.    People needing support out in the north or west of the area would not only lack crisis accommodation , but in many cases may lack close neighbours who they can rely upon.

I know that Council and insurance companies will offer emergency accommodation, but that is not the same.  I’m doing some work with Lifeline and am deeply aware of the increase (and expected ongoing increase) of calls they are seeing due to the economic impacts of Covid.  I’m also a Mental Health First Aider and Career Coach with an NGO that works with people who have lost their jobs due to Covid.   So I know that the crisis scenarios are increasing and we need to be better prepared in general.

Brett Nangle – Walling Ward

Crisis accommodation is a vital asset for our community, but unfortunately there is a lack of understanding and willingness by the council to either own the suitable accommodation or the landlords are reluctant to rent their properties for fear their assets being trashed. Which we know is unlikely.

Bec Brannigan  – Walling Ward

I know our area is lacking in services for all of these.

Tony Stephenson  – Walling Ward

Yes I am aware of this current situation. I know that a range of local support agencies can and do make temporary arrangements to help people in crisis but their limited resources are being further stretched by growing demand.

Question 3.
If elected, how would you deal with these issues when they come up at Council?

Matthew Musilli – Billanook Ward

There are a number of things that a local Councillor can do to address these issues and improve the situation in the Ranges.

Firstly, we need a Councillor who will strongly advocate to have social and community housing built in our Municipality and include this in the planning scheme.

Secondly, we need a Councillor who will fight for mandatory inclusionary zoning to be included into our planning scheme. Mandatory inclusionary zoning would force developers to put aside some of their properties to be used as social or affordable housing, this would have a direct impact on the supply of social housing in our area and it is a fantastic example of Council working with the private sector to better the lives of those in need.

Thirdly, Yarra Ranges needs to create a housing trust, in which money and land is collected and used for future use for social housing. This could be beneficial for any unused public land; we could put it in this trust so it can only be used for social housing, therefore protecting it from being used for something else if there was a change of heart by some down the track.

Fourthly, Council can seek land transfers from the state and federal government for any currently unused crown land, we could advocate to have this transferred to Council and be used positively for social housing or crisis accommodation.

Fifthly, Council can work with developers to negotiate social housing agreements with developers. This is similar to inclusionary zoning – when Councils re-zone land for residential use, the value goes up. Councils can request a cash payment in-lieu of the building of social housing dwellings on the site in question and direct it towards building or supporting more social housing in the community.
Sixthly, Council could gift any currently unused Council offices or land to housing associations who will build more social housing, again positively affecting the supply of housing and it takes the pressure of Council having to build it from the ground, all we’d have to do is provide the land.

Last but not least, we need a Councillor who will be a fantastic advocate for social housing in our community and isn’t afraid to lobby the state and federal government on this issue.

Peter Killin – Billanook Ward

I first deal with an issue by hearing all sides of the argument or opportunity.

I would then look to how anything of merit can be advocated for and funded.

My aim is to prioritise all council expenditure and focus on core services for the community.

Tim Heenan – Billanook Ward

I have been, in my 12 years on Council, lobbying extremely hard with these issues. It is only in recent times that we are starting to get a greater understanding from the State Government, and in very recent times due to Covid-19, the Federal Government. I will continue, as I have always done, for more State and Federal money to come together to build more affordable housing.

Lisa Di Battista – Billanook Ward

I would refer to the Victorian homelessness and rough sleeping action plan framework and or would propose an evaluation of current initiatives to see if they are working.

Damian Arthur  – Chandler Ward

I cannot effectively answer this question at this early stage. I need to gain a greater awareness of the process for dealing with such issues at Council.  With a greater awareness of process AND with an increased level of knowledge regarding the challenges you have raised, I will then be in a better position to utilise the process OR take a more strategic approach if the process itself proves ineffective.

Roxanne Horn  – Chandler Ward

I would advocate for the inclusion of social housing in our planning scheme, I would lobby the state and federal government for more funding and I would listen to the organisations and community groups who are already working in this space, I will find out what support they need going forward.

Vanessa Cumming – Chirnside Ward

I would definitely start by pushing for change in Council – we can’t grow as a community if there are members of it that are left behind and not treated as they deserve. I would look for suitable land or property in hope to create more safe places for homeless people and for those who seek accommodation for the many of reasons. I would also like to see more community gardens which would help low income households and homeless individuals. I would also encourage Council to be more involved in issues like this, as all people in our community are equally important and should be treated as so. If you have any ideas that could help this issue, I would love to hear them so that I can put them forward in Council if I am elected.

David Scanlon – Chirnside Ward

I would work with yourself and likeminded organisations and people to improve the services that we provide in this area.

William Brindle – Lyster Ward

If elected .. I would put answer 1. into practice!

Sophie Todorov  – Melba Ward

I am a genuine advocate in this area and a committed ally to organisations  such as Holy Fools, Anchor, Salvation Army, Anglicare, EACH, Stable One and local volunteers. I am already involved with the Eastern Homelessness Network and believe that collaboration and being a voice for vulnerable people in the community can bring these issues to the forefront of Council discussion. I am pleased that Council endorsed  the ‘Guiding Principles on Housing and Homelessness’ document on 25/08/2020. This is a huge step forward in the right direction.

Nerida Forster  – Melba Ward

I will be going out meeting people, and listening to them. I’ll find out what they struggle with and then convey to council the key aspects around the life situations of their vulnerability.

Don Di Battista  – Melba Ward

I have advocated for solutions to these community issues and should I be elected as a representative of the community, would work to encourage, as best as Council can, the delivery of affordable housing, to create a planning environment that encourages and crucially facilitates the provision of such housing opportunities from the development industry, while creating further initiatives, and collaborating with the state government and Not-for-profits to provide crisis accommodation and further opportunities for social housing.

I would support the provision of affordable, social and crisis housing within the Yarra Ranges.

The current supply of houses and land is a flawed model that does not respond to the whole of the community; this needs to be remedied and I am in the fortunate position having attained significant experience in this industry as a Civil Engineer. I am therefore well acquainted with the technical, statutory and practical factors involved in delivering housing land and the associated infrastructure.

Mia McGregor – Lyster Ward

I would ask for a briefing on this topic.  I believe that Council is a signatory to theThe Regional Local Government Homelessness & Social Housing Charter 2020 , and it would be timely to get a briefing and find out for myself whether this Council has devleoped a strategy and action plan.

Fiona McCallister – Ryrie Ward

I will continue to support every opportunity we have at Council level as I have done to date whether it be:

  • supporting social housing entities within our municipality
  • making land available for social housing
  • supporting organisations such as Holy Fools (financial and otherwise) and HICCI to provide support for individuals and families in crisis to prevent them becoming homeless or those already homeless
  • advocating to State Government for commitment to building (and supporting the building of) more social/public housing
  • finding ways through the planning scheme to encourage developers to include affordable housing options in developments
  • and any other ways we can turn this around

Doug MacDonald – Streeton Ward

If elected I would support these issues to council.

Andrew Fullagar – Streeton Ward

I’d be guided by experts like you.  I don’t want to re-invent the wheel, or have costly studies taken to re-write what we already know.

David Vincent – Streeton Ward

I believe that council should hold the community at the heart of decision making, and that means making decisions that are in the best interests of all, not just developers or business growth.   We need to have a balanced community that looks after each other, and is socially and physically connected.  I’m not aligned to any political party, so would not be required to vote in any direction, but I will vote on decisions that are balanced to support the needs of the community.

It will obviously depend on how and what issues are raised but I will use my voice to find ways to ensure that the Councils strategies and policies on social welfare and community support are focussed on in council decisions – I know from experience that these aspects are not always brought to attention or considered.

Brett Nangle – Walling Ward

As these issues have been raised in my policies, you can be reassured the matter of affordable housing for new developments will definitely be argued. I have had issues with the Yarra Ranges in the past who just wished for the problem to go away or just did not know how to handle such issues. It is time for all the Councillors to begiven training on where the problem lies and not to be reactive but to be proactive with learned advice from the experts.

Bec Brannigan  – Walling Ward

I want to help. How can I help you?

Tony Stephenson  – Walling Ward

It’s not a question of sitting back waiting for them to come up at Council. There needs to be proactive engagement with the community, agencies and other levels of government to work together to change this situation. There’s not one simple, easy answer. There are many things that need to be worked on throughout the term of council. I fear that with twin challenges of pandemic and recession that sadly many more people will find themselves homeless or in housing distress.

Question 4.
What else could the Council be doing to help ease homelessness and provide access to affordable housing and/or crisis housing?

Matthew Musilli – Billanook Ward

Council can do almost anything if it has the right people helping to steer the ship. We need to elect Councillors who have the passion, stamina and vision to see through all those changes I listed above.

As you have probably gathered by now, I am very passionate about this issue and I feel as though the Yarra Ranges has been forgotten when it comes to social housing or crisis accommodation and if elected, I will work very hard to change this and do my best to work with the community and with fantastic organisations such as Holy Fools to make these positive changes a reality.

Peter Killin – Billanook Ward

I think council needs to do something – and not just write up fluffy documents.

Tim Heenan – Billanook Ward

Work together with State Government to ease restrictions on dependant person units, this is a must and would free up many opportunities for more people to be housed.

The planning Scheme must be amended to allow the relaxation in town centres where the green wedge is to allow these types of accommodation under the proper planning overlays.

Lisa Di Battista – Billanook Ward

They could partner with more community groups, businesses to ensure support for people who experience homelessness. Also, implement primary preventative measures to curb people from becoming homeless in the first place.

Damian Arthur  – Chandler Ward

Similar to my answer above at point three.  It would be imprudent of me make a statement about what Council could be doing when I don’t yet know (in detail) what Council is already doing in this regard OR what Council can potentially do.

Roxanne Horn  – Chandler Ward

Council needs to focus on the fact that we have no crisis accommodation. I believe this needs to be done before we can focus on why people are becoming homeless, as that isn’t an easy/quick fix. We need our homeless population to be in safe and secure accommodation. If elected, I will work hard and advocate for this.

Vanessa Cumming – Chirnside Ward

I believe that the Council could do a number of things to help ease homelessness and provide access to affordable housing/crisis housing. Strengthening relationships with local Churches and community centers to create more safe spaces for people would be a great place to start. Utilizing unused spaces could be used to build facilities to accommodate those in need. Encouraging the community to participate in helping those in need such as fundraisers would also bring more awareness to these issues.

David Scanlon – Chirnside Ward

If elected, I’d love to have a chat with you and learn more about the issue and garner some ideas.

William Brindle – Lyster Ward

Firstly money. Working with State and Federal contacts would be high on my list. But this won’t work without a decent plan of action.  Spanning say 10 years and embracing the multitude of problems and of course the issues which bring these problems about in the first place. Once again, we would need the guidance of those on the ground. Their experience and expertise would be crucial for success.

Sophie Todorov  – Melba Ward

Funding will always be an issue, but especially now after Covid-19. The alliance of 13  Councils on this matter will be integral as well as working in partnership with key stakeholders, Planning and volunteers. Social housing needs to be increased, as well as the establishment of accommodation similar to The Foyer model – where people can integrate learning and accommodation. With the vast expanse of land that Yarra Ranges has, it would also be great to see accelerated planning and permits around ‘Tiny House’ concepts too.

Essentially, placing importance on addressing the underlying complex reasons behind homelessness and providing early intervention to vulnerable members of the community is something that local council services can address at grassroot level to reduce homelessness in the first place.

Nerida Forster  – Melba Ward

Building affordable and emergency housing. Creating a community centre where social support and community connection is available to people.

Don Di Battista  – Melba Ward

See my response to Question 3.

Mia McGregor – Lyster Ward

My experience is that Council has a role to play in the planning space.  For example, approving (sometimes unpopular) developments that provide affordable housing (such as the Launch Housing initiatives) and also ensuring that new multi unit dwellings are obliged to contain a percentage of affordable housing.  No doubt there is more.

Fiona McCallister – Ryrie Ward

I will continue to support every opportunity we have at Council level as I have done to date whether it be:

  • supporting social housing entities within our municipality
  • making land available for social housing
  • supporting organisations such as Holy Fools (financial and otherwise) and HICCI to provide support for individuals and families in crisis to prevent them becoming homeless or those already homeless
  • advocating to State Government for commitment to building (and supporting the building of) more social/public housing
  • finding ways through the planning scheme to encourage developers to include affordable housing options in developments
  • and any other ways we can turn this around

Doug MacDonald – Streeton Ward

The council should market the help and availability better on these issues.

Andrew Fullagar – Streeton Ward

Have a more sympathetic Council, who takes social issues more seriously.  More substantial funding where it’s needed most.  Learn from the community, and people on the ground.

David Vincent – Streeton Ward

As you know, the Shire has a Health & Wellbeing Strategy, that includes a goal around affordable housing – as stated above, I feel this is a bit passive in it’s phrasing but the great thing is, this strategy is up for review soon – it’s dated 2017-2021 so this should be the time to be actively resetting the strategy and putting in some strong conventions and expectations – we should be looking to setting a target for achieving affordable housing levels – whether that’s achieved through planning, working with NGO’s like you, working with State and Federal Government and Agencies.    I know that in the Housing Strategy written in 2017, it called out a shortage of affordable housing and put a number against that.  In the current council plan and council report, there is no reference to how this metric is performing.  We need the council to keep focus on this, and I know that it’s hard to focus on all things that council has to manage, but it’s their job.

Brett Nangle – Walling Ward

One of my biggest concerns is that the Council are not very good marketers. They have all the resources, they have the contacts but do not have the will to take action. I will be actively negotiating to have access and the underlying services marketed to the community more, so that they at least have a first contact and not left to feel hopelessness.

Tony Stephenson  – Walling Ward

Directly Council has limited abilities to act but can advocate to agencies and other levels of government on behalf of local people in need. There is some council owned land in Lilydale which has been assessed for the creation of social housing. There is some community resistance to that as people misunderstand this type of housing and the absolute need for it. I do support developing this social housing in Lilydale and I hope that the proposal is supported by a future Council. I support the work of the Eastern Affordable Housing Alliance as Council’s in Eastern Melbourne explore ways to increase social housing supply. Council needs to continue to act in partnership with community groups such as Holy Fools, Anchor, Stable One who support people who are homeless or in housing distress. A major contributor to homelessness and the need for crisis housing is domestic violence. Council works with agencies such as EDVOS to seek to reduce the incidence of domestic violence. As a Councillor I am committed to ensuring we support gender equity in council service provision and facilities. For example, by strongly supporting integrated Football Netball clubs and increasing female friendly sports facilities Council supports the normalising of gender relations from an early age which improves the culture of sporting clubs and positively improves gender attitudes throughout life and leads to more respectful relationships and reduced domestic violence in time.

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