Housing Matters Action Group is founded in the belief that grassroots community approaches can create positive change and that everyone deserves a safe, secure and affordable home.
Originally formed in 2017 when representatives from the Bellingen Neighbourhood Centre, Lifetime Connect, local councillors and interested community members came together to discuss homelessness and the local housing crisis.
The group recognised the many drivers in the housing system contributing to the local housing crisis and while some levers remain the responsibility of government, waiting for an external solution was not going to bring about the action needed in the community to remain a diverse and inclusive place to live. The group decided to form a citizens action group and host a forum focused on local solutions.
Over 160 people attended the initial forum and a detailed work plan was developed with 46 people committing to ongoing actions.
Since then HMAG has conducted a localised needs mapping, developed a 10 point advocacy platform, supported the Bellingen Shire Council Local Housing Strategy community consultations, co-hosted state and federal ‘meet the candidates’ events, commissioned 3 short films and continue to work towards numerous medium to longer term solutions to local housing issues, including the inclusion of affordable housing in retirement village developments, a Housing Fund, Land Bank, and a Community Property Trust to provide perpetually affordable housing.
HMAG incorporated in January 2020. Our work continues to evolve and respond to the local housing crisis while maintaining our grassroots community development approach. Here’s our 2023 Annual Report for more updates on our work.
Steve Klipin and family, drawn by the beauty of the area, the broad range of folk who have called Bello home, and the strong sense of community, has lived, worked and raised a family in the Bellingen shire, since the late nineties. Along with partner Lisa, we have contributed many volunteer hours to our beautiful home environment.More
Stephanie has recently retired after more than 20 years working in State Government and for the non-government sector in management and development positions. Stephanie is committed to social justice, ethical practice, and improving housing and life outcomes for disadvantaged people.More
Liz Jeremy is an expert in local government, governance, engagement, sustainability and resilience with decades of experience working across rural, regional, and metropolitan settings, understanding community priorities and ensuring excellence in engagement and service delivery, most recently as General Manager of Bellingen Shire Council.More
Michael Darcy is Adjunct Professor at Western Sydney University where he was previously Director of the Urban Research Centre and prior to that the Social Justice Research Centre. He currently teaches part time at both Southern Cross University and Sydney University. In addition to his academic work on housing policy and management Michael has worked for the Tenants’ Union of NSW, ACOSS, and in local government, and served on the Boards of Shelter NSW and WESTIR. Michael has family living in Bellingen for many years and moved to the Shire early in 2020.
Kerry Pearse has been a housing advocate and community builder for most of her life. She cut her teeth as a squatter in the Lyndhurst Estate in Glebe, Sydney and went on to work at the Mid North Coast Tenants Advice and Housing Referral Service which was based at Coffs Harbour during the 1980s. This jump started her public service career, initially in community housing policy with the Australian Government. Her adult housing story includes living in a squat and numerous approved and unapproved rental properties and share houses.More
Rose grew-up in a radical housing co-op in inner-city Brisbane during the 1980’s, which shaped her belief that housing is a right not a privilege. She went on to complete a Bachelor of Human Geography/Education and engage in community development work in Sydney and Melbourne. Rose recently completed a thesis on community-led housing activism in regional Australia, which you can access here. Since 2016 Rose has been a board member for the peak body for housing co-ops in NSW, Common Equity NSW.More