Laurel Lodge could help address our housing shortage: Saffin

LISMORE MP Janelle Saffin has floated the idea that the NSW Government could utilise NSW Health’s Lismore property Laurel Lodge as social housing rather than sell it off on the private real estate market.

LISMORE MP Janelle Saffin has floated the idea that the NSW Government could utilise NSW Health’s Lismore property Laurel Lodge as social housing rather than sell it off on the private real estate market.

Ms Saffin said she this week made urgent representations to NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet and other relevant Ministers to gauge their interest in her proposal ahead of a State Budget tipped to include hundreds of millions of dollars in funding for social housing.

Ms Saffin said she was informed that the Northern NSW Health District is seeking to sell off Laurel Lodge, a block of 12 units at 137-139 Laurel Avenue, but with a high level of homelessness and rental stress in Lismore, it makes sense to keep it in public hands.

“These units would be a great addition to our dearth of affordable housing stock in the Lismore area,” Ms Saffin said.

“The units are a little dated but are in reasonable condition and in a good location close to shops and Lismore’s Central Business District. They would be ideal for emergency housing for single women with young families.

“Alternatively, this is a unique opportunity to provide shelter and security for 12 local families or individual tenants on a longer term basis, but we must act decisively to seize it.

“I again told the Treasurer that I welcome his recent media comments foreshadowing an investment of hundreds of millions of dollars in social housing in next week’s NSW Budget.

“I am hoping that the NSW Government might see fit to add these units to its economic stimulus policy of encouraging job creation through building or maintaining more stock. I do not expect NSW Health to keep them and want the State to have them.”

Ms Saffin has sent her Housing Ends Homelessness Report and Advocacy Paper to the Treasurer, Housing Minister Melinda Pavey, Health Minister Brad Hazzard and Families, Communities and Disability Services Minister Gareth Ward.

“I wanted the Ministers to see that I am working constructively with all stakeholders across the Electorate of Lismore to find solutions,” Ms Saffin said.

Wednesday, 11 November 2020.

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