Social housing – Communities doing it for themselves
Photo: CHASM Housing received $2000 grant from Maleny Credit Union Charitable Trust.
CHASM Housing is a Queensland-based community organization that advocates for affordable housing and develops projects to help the homeless. Their latest innovative project is designed to provide long-term housing for up to ten people, or small households, who are at risk of homelessness in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland.
CHASM Housing has teamed up with the Maleny’s Maple Street Co-op to place the first of their small, relocatable dwellings in the community garden, on Bicentennial Lane. The pilot project will be a caretaker’s cottage, and rented to a suitable tenant. The property will be rented at affordable rates, following a three-month public display period to promote further support for the concept and acknowledge the project’s sponsors and supporters.
CHASM Housing operates under the auspice the Maleny Neighbourhood Centre (MNC), whose emergency relief program has seen an upsurge in people sleeping rough and in their cars in the last few years. The extra ten affordable homes will be welcome in a town with the tightest rental vacancies in the state (from 10% to 1% in 5 years).
Lack of supply and skyrocketing rents in this popular country town, have forced many to leave the Hinterland, threatening the town’s social diversity. CHASM Housing’s future tenants will be asked to demonstrate ties to the local community to help maintain the town’s social sustainability. CHASM Housing have adopted the tag line ‘Keeping our community connected, cared for and vibrant’ reinforcing their message of inclusivity.
The potential for the model of community owned housing to be replicated across similar country towns struggling with the same issues, is exciting. Picturesque, creative townships typically suffer the impacts of gentrification and tourism, and many have felt the disruption the unregulated Air B’n’B market has had on the supply of affordable rental properties. Regional Australia could benefit from taking their social housing needs into their own hands and follow the Maleny model.
CHASM Housing has already received some generous financial pledges from community members keen to see the project be realized. Businesses are invited to contribute with attractive sponsorship opportunities are on offer. Philanthropic support from landholders and skilled workers willing to chip in are welcomed.
Further inquiries contact CHASM Housing Chair Marg MacKenzie firstname.lastname@example.org or the Maleny Neighourhood Centre 07 3051 6311
CHASM Housing acknowledges the Kabi Kabi & Jinabirra people, the traditional custodians, present, past and future, of the land where we live.