Community Land Trust
The establishment of a Community Land Trust (CLT) has the potential to provide long term, affordable and secure housing and have an important role in maintaining community diversity, inclusion and self-determination.
A CLT is a not-for-profit organisation that provides housing, typically through co-ownership or a 99 year lease model. Effectively a CLT takes the land out of the market, which is a key driver in market price increases. This model can provide perpetually affordable housing and provides the qualities of home ownership along with a range of community benefits.
The Community Land Trust (CLT) will be a not for profit enterprise which owns property throughout the Bellingen Shire. The CLT will provide the opportunity for people to have a secure place to call home. These homes will remain affordable for future generations through shared ownership or long-term leases.
The homes will be environmentally responsible, sustainable and universally designed wherever possible.
The CLT will help to ensure that the Bellingen Shire remains an inclusive and diverse community by providing affordable and secure homes into perpetuity.
We are exploring establishing up a home boarding initiative through the Housing Hub. This is a local and immediate response to the housing crisis facing the Bellingen Shire. Once piloted it could be rolled out by other communities. This initiative will match home owners living alone who would like a border and some company with people in precarious housing situations who would like to live in a share situation.
People will register and look for a suitable match, based things like age, gender, interests and location. Police checks will be mandatory for all participants.
Early in 2021 we will put the call out for community feedback and test how much interest there is in this idea. If supported we will design a pilot, do a risk assessment and test the approach in the first half of 2021.
Local Housing Fund
We are exploring the establishing of a local housing fund to provide financial help to people experiencing housing stress locally. (For example, to help with increased rent if someone needs to stay in a short term holiday rental till they can find private rental or to help cover moving costs if someone has had to move a lot in a short period of time due to no fault lease terminations)
The fund is a way that newcomers buying into the region could make an immediate contribution to help mitigate the impact of increased property prices on the local community. People could contribute to the fund at the point of sale, purchase or at any time.
If the Housing Fund takes off, over time it could build sufficient capital to purchase land for the Community Land Trust.
We are planning to establish the Housing Hub in the Bellingen Sustainability Centre – Church St Lane Bellingen, in 2021. As the Hub grows we will :
- Bring together socially and environmentally responsible housing professionals to provide advice for local residents undertaking small developments such as building low cost well designed housing, secondary dwellings, subdividing large blocks into two, retrofitting a large house into different living areas etc
- Develop and disseminate tools and resources to help residents with disaster preparedness, water and energy security, solar passive housing design, landscaping, low cost environmentally responsible building techniques and updates on progress in implementing the Bellingen Shire Local Housing Strategy 2020-2040
- Facilitate community responses and solutions to the local housing crisis
- Undertake local and regional advocacy and policy development platform which helps government tackle the regional housing crisis
Precarious Housing – incl land hosting & innovative technology
We are working hard to understand the extent and impact of the regional housing crisis on the different groups of people who make up our communities. We are exploring immediate initiatives such as hosted land sharing and innovative technology responses.
We are also exploring and encouraging new models, such as for purpose private developments like well designed boarding houses for single low income earners; well designed Build to Rent; Rent to Buy and shared ownership options. We are working with not for profits, social enterprises, for purpose developers and entrepreneurs to increase the range of affordable housing options available regionally.
Our group is also kick starting a regional advocacy campaign. We are keen to work closely with local Members of Parliament to increase government investment in social and affordable housing and government incentives and subsidies for innovative new affordable housing responses.
Local Housing Strategy
The housing system is complex and all tiers of government have an important part to play. State and Commonwealth Governments control many of the levers which drive the housing system. However local government also has an important part in the housing story.
We have been actively supporting Bellingen Shire Council’s development of the twenty year Local Housing Strategy and broader Growth Management Strategy. It is a state government requirement of all local councils to develop these documents. We are proud that Bellingen Shire Council has been recognised for their outstanding work in relation to the Local Housing Strategy winning both the Community Partnerships and Collaboration Category of the NSW Local Government Awards 2019 and the Rural Category of the 2020 Local Government NSW A.R. Bluett Memorial Awards.
Bellingen Shire Council launched their discussion paper ‘Homes for our Future’ at our first housing forum in 2018. Following the forum, a working group was formed to support the community consultation process, host workshops in Dorrigo, Bellingen and Urunga and inform themselves of the details of the proposed strategy. The most common themes from the consultation included the need for more housing choice and greater housing affordability (over 30% of comments); protection of the natural environment (18% of comments) and protecting character and supporting community connections (15%) of comments.
The Local Housing Strategy will be a very important document that will guide and shape the growth of our community over the next 30 years. The Local Housing Strategy 2020-2040 and supporting Action Plan outline a wide range of initiatives, including quality infill development, environmentally responsible development, a number of innovative pilot projects and the potential of a Housing Hub to assist with the implementation and uptake of initiatives. We are pleased to work closely Bellingen Shire Council to continue to find local solutions to the current housing crisis.