Public housing support sought

Mount Gambier City Council will lobby for increased funding to expand public housing in the region. Councillors last week agreed to advocate at both federal and state levels for an increase.

One of two notices of motion from Councillor Sonya Mezinec advocating for greater social services, the motion was delivered at last week’s monthly council meeting and seconded by Cr Christian Greco, after receiving unanimous support from elected members.

It came after Cr Mezinec argued the region’s booming housing market had created a lack of affordable housing. Of particular concern to Cr Mezinec was there are not enough properties for homeless members of the community.

In addition, there are fears that a lack of available housing could affect domestic violence services, with Cr Mezinec citing cases of domestic violence survivors being unable to move out of emergency accommodation due to an increase in housing prices across the region.

Consequently, emergency accommodation is becoming unavailable for those in need, she said, which was affecting the perceived trustworthiness of domestic violence services. Cr Mezinec explained that if, under these conditions, violence then erupts and survivors of domestic abuse need to leave their situation, they will not re-seek help as they did not receive it in the first place.

Cr Mezinec called for greater advocacy of the situation, with council now expected to write to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Minister for Homelessness Michael Sukkar, SA Premier Steven Marshall and Human Services Minister Michelle Lensink.

The correspondence would see the council advocate for increased funding to “expand the stock of social and community housing in Mount Gambier and the Limestone Coast region” with copies to be sent to local federal and state members of Parliament.

Additionally, council would liaise with local homelessness sector services in advocating for increasing the stock of social and community housing.

Council also voted to provide Cr Mezinec’s motion to the Limestone Coast Local Government Association and member councils for information and for the motion to also be presented with “a South Australian context” to the Local Government Association of South Australia for its October general meeting.

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