A new group is hitting the streets to get people off the streets with an initiative to find solutions to the rental crisis, including building the Olympic Games village now.
The H.E.U.S Initiative (pronounced ‘house’) stands for a Home for Everyone Under the Sun and is being launched on Thursday.
As the Sunshine Coast faces its worst rental, housing and homelessness crisis, HEUS has been created to unite and educate the community and use the combined voice to push change at all levels of government.
Property analyst Mal Cayley, who is leading the charge, said it was time to pull together to save our community.
He said one of the big solutions on the HEUS Initiative’s hit list was to build the Olympic Games village now.
“This crisis can be solved in five to 10 years and we have a solution to bring 2,000 new rental properties to the market in two years if all levels of government will get on board.
“Building the Games village now is part of this and we have a model to make this viable, to move people through the village at all levels of need and back into the general market as the crisis is eased and resolved, before the village is needed for the Olympics.
“We invite Council, State and the Federal Government to jump on board,” said Mr Cayley.
One Sunshine Coast family never thought they’d face homelessness with full time work and an excellent track record, but last year single mother Nicole Stevens and her three children had nowhere to go.
They submitted more than 20 applications before finally being approved for a property – seven weeks after they had to move out of their home and put all their belongings in storage.
“It’s crazy how many people are struggling, people with jobs who can pay to live somewhere, yet their applications are still being rejected,” said Ms Stevens.
“I have amazing references and have always paid rent in advance with no arrears. There are no marks on my rental history and I still didn’t get a look-in for so many properties.
“With the HEUS Initiative launching I feel that there is hope for the region. We need the voices of all in the community to be heard by the government and others who can help, that our region is not coping, there is not enough affordable housing and we need to make change now for the benefit of everyone who calls this place home,” shared Ms Stevens.
Mr Cayley said recent census data revealed 14,000 people have been displaced out of rental properties on the Sunshine Coast due to homes selling to owner occupiers, not enough new rental properties being built and competition ever-growing.
“The Coast needs at least 5,500 rental homes today.
“Due to this undersupply of rental properties, people are leaving our region, couch surfing, living in cars and becoming homeless. The economic impact is already impacting our businesses and lifestyle, and the social impact is escalating and will take years to reverse.
“This is a crisis that affects our whole community, not just those trying to secure a home,” explained Mr Cayley.
Mr Cayley said he was frustrated at inaction from all levels of goverment, and concerend about the future for his own six children aged three to 18.
He was also horrified at the growing numbers of stories impacting his own groups of friends and employees and felt compelled to act.
Mr Cayley used his expert skills of data analysis, research and a solutions-focused approach to come up with real solutions.
“Years of neglect have contributed to this crisis and it will take years to resolve, but it can be done,” he said.
“Understanding the many causes at many levels of government and community will allow us to provide a ‘cure’ rather than just treat the symptoms that allow the real issue to fester.
“The actual solution comes down to one single outcome – SUPPLY. There are two places this needs to come from – The Public Sector (Government and institutional investor provided) and the Private Sector (individual and corporate investors).
“We are working on specific solutions for each area to increase supply and see the right kind of sustainable development in the right areas, protecting our beaches and greenspaces, but above all, protecting people.” explained Mr Cayley.
With a range of solutions from legislation, tax, town planning regulations and application changes to incentives and penalties for property use, the H.E.U.S Initiative aims to tackle every isuse and make real, lasting change that sees a win-win for the Sunshine Coast community.
“This is a complex issue and will take a lot to resolve, but we can make it happen if we all choose to. If we choose to put our hands up to be counted, if governments choose to make the change and respond to the crisis as a crisis and if we unite for our future.”
Article source: www.sunshinecoastnews.com.au
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