Uniting Church pushes for affordable rent targets at upcoming rally

Uniting Church pushes for affordable rent targets at upcoming rally

“What is clear to me is the importance of home to our own wellbeing, to our self-confidence, to our relationship with the rest of the world. Home is at the heart of our understanding of hope. Hope for the future – for a better life for ourselves, for our families”  Raymond Young

Affordable housing is such a big and complex issue it’s hard to see how we can make a difference. But our Uniting Church Synod, along with other members of the Sydney Alliance, is contributing to one tangible part of a solution.

Synod leaders will be among hundreds of diverse representatives of the Greater Sydney community at a Sydney Alliance rally for affordable housing at St Mary’s Cathedral College Hall on July 12.

On May 4 in Eastwood, almost 400 people packed Eastwood Uniting Church, urging Minister for Planning and Housing Anthony Roberts MP that his government should adopt minimum targets for “inclusionary zoning”. This involves earmarking a percentage of lower-income-affordable rental units in new developments – at least 15% on private land and 30% on government-owned land.

Encouragingly, and due in part to our advocacy through Sydney Alliance, the NSW Opposition has since adopted similar targets.  The Shadow Planning Minister, Michael Daley, addressed a recent Alliance meeting to pledge their policy commitments to 15% affordable units in private developments, and 25% on government land.

But despite the Government pledging to make affordable housing a top priority, no significant measure has yet been adopted to make rents more affordable for people on lower incomes.  This is an issue of great concern to Uniting staff and programs who work with vulnerable groups and witness the impacts of precarious housing on their lives.

Uniting’s recent submission to the Greater Sydney Commission (GSC) identified how homelessness and lack of affordable housing affects all Sydneysiders – and that the planning system can help deliver affordable housing units at a scale that can make a real difference.

Mr Roberts will again be present at the July 12 assembly – along with GSC representatives, Sydney’s Catholic Archbishop Anthony Fisher, our own Moderator Rev Myung Hwa Park, and Uniting Executive Director Peter Worland.

Supporters of affordable rents for lower-income people are urged to register for the July 12 event.  It would be wonderful to see a hundred or more representatives of our Synod and congregations at this event to lend our voices to the campaign.

More information at Uniting Social Justice Forum’s Affordable Housing Campaign webpage.  Or contact Stafford Sanders.

Pictured: NSW Deputy Opposition Leader and Shadow Planning Minister Michael Daley (C) at a recent meeting at St Stephens Uniting Church, Sydney with (L-R) Stafford Sanders (Uniting Social Justice Forum), Rev Raymond Joso (Uniting Mission in Education), Rev Ken Day (St Stephen’s) and Barbara Perry (Catholic Care).

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