Charlestown state MP Jodie Harrison has raised concerns about the housing crisis, which is currently gripping the Lower Hunter.
And, she is calling on the NSW Government to urgently extend the Temporary Accommodation budget while an unprecedented number of women and children face homelessness in the region.
At the moment, the financial plan provides up to 28 days of support, per year, for those doing it tough seeking somewhere to live.
This week in the NSW Parliament, Ms Harrison made a Private Members Statement, which she described the emergency unfolding in Lake Macquarie and Newcastle, where rental vacancy rates are the lowest in the state and rents have climbed as much as 30% over one year in some parts of her electorate.
“The rental vacancy rate in Charlestown is hovering at about 0.4%,” she explained.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has created a perfect storm for this housing crisis.
“City-siders are leaving metropolitan areas and heading for the regions, which is increasing pressure on rental markets.
“And, with the state government having gutted social housing over a 10-year period people simply cannot find anywhere to live.”
Ms Harrison has called on NSW leader Gladys Berejiklian to urgently include reducing women’s homelessness into the Premier’s Priorities list.
“In response to COVID-19, the Premier extended the Temporary Accommodation budget for rough sleepers allowing them to access more than the usual 28 days of assistance,” she said.
“We now have women with children, and older women over 50, who cannot find anywhere to live in both private and social housing markets.
“They have also used up all of their Temporary Accommodation budget.
“There are women living in tents, sleeping in their cars with simply nowhere to go.
“Many of these women are fleeing domestic violence.
“The refuges are full, the wait lists to just to get on an intake list are long.
“I have heard this described as a humanitarian crisis.
“And, it’s happening on our doorstep.”