Emergency housing services in South East New South Wales prepare for a busy summer

Summer will bring long-awaited vacationers to the south coast of NSW, but a housing shortage means emergency housing providers are bracing for the impact.

Tourists from Victoria, Greater Sydney, ACT and soon beyond are keen to head to popular New South Wales travel destinations as the state reopens.

However, the housing shortage was only getting worse with this tourist surge.

Mission Australia’s Homelessness Program Manager for Bega Valley, Donna Davis, said the crisis has now passed the breaking point and fears the worst is yet to come.

“In December it’s a scary and frightening place to see where we could potentially have a lot of trouble,” Ms. Davis said.

Workers at Mission Australia in the southeastern state are concerned about the looming increase in demand for temporary or crisis housing.(ABC South East NSW: Keira Proust)

Service providers said the stock of temporary, crisis and affordable housing had already dried up across the southeast.

Ms Davis said the busy summer period would leave people living in tents or trailers with no options locally.

“Most of the campsites are out of the area which is not possible as a lot of customers don’t have a car and we are going to have an influx of people into the area,” she said.

Move option only

Homeless services were now looking further to find housing for those in need.

Ms Davis said with no options locally, she was now having difficult conversations with clients to consider moving them to the western part of the state.

“There is a great demand for anyone to relocate to these areas.”

A woman in a black jacket kneeling in a garden near a playground.
Ms Davis has worked in the industry for over 10 years and says she has never seen the situation so bad.(ABC South East NSW: Keira Proust)

Ms Davis is said to be working over the Christmas season in anticipation of soaring demand.

She said the local women’s shelter had a waiting list for the first time since she started working in the area ten years ago.

She believed that the growing housing crisis would have a particular impact on people fleeing domestic violence.

“If we have a family that is escaping domestic violence and has nowhere to stay, what will it be like for us on the ground?” she asked.

A young woman clings to a teddy bear.
Women and families fleeing domestic violence may need to be resettled in West New South Wales.(ABC Capricorn: Jasmin Hines)

New South Wales Housing Minister Melinda Pavey did not respond to requests for comment and instead referred the ABC to the Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services, Alister Henskens.

The ABC has contacted Minister Henskens’ office for comment.

Local charitable solutions

A local organization decided to mobilize and raise funds to deal with the crisis at the community level.

Social justice advocates have already raised more than $ 80,000 for the purchase of a unit to house homeless people in the Bega Valley.

“We hope we will reach that $ 100,000 by the end of the year,” said Co-Chair Mick Brosnan.

“We have around 11 caravans every night to accommodate people who we don’t think is a worthy long-term solution.”

“So we would like to buy a unit. “

A man in a blue shirt standing next to a caravan.
Mick Brosnan usually helps deliver caravans to people in need of temporary accommodation. Now he hopes to raise funds to buy a unit.(Provided: Mick Brosnan)

He said that while the ‘It’s Ours’ campaign is an important local initiative, more is needed from all levels of government for immediate action.

“The state government is the one responsible. It is not the council, but the council must put pressure on the government.”

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