Housing Matters Action Group
Housing Matters Action Group (‘HMAG’) is a grass-roots community organisation based in Bellingen who are devoted to finding and delivering local solutions to the regional housing crisis. Bellingen, like many picturesque rural towns, is facing the challenges of affluent tree changers and other lifestyle seekers competing with low-income local residents for limited housing options. It’s easy to get bogged down in parsing out what is the responsibility of federal versus state versus local government, but HMAG have shown that discussing and organising at the grass-roots level can uncover important social capital. HMAG primarily want people in their communities to move beyond seeing housing and land as a commodity.
“We need a whole range of different models, not just home ownership, private rentals, or public housing; we need to bust that [idea] apart”Kerry Pearse, Chair of HMAG.
Shelter NSW was very happy to co-fund the HMAG film, ‘Home Matters’, and more broadly support the the great work they do.
From a Tiny Homes Working Group, to a Community Lands Trust model, to coordinating local resident submissions on Bellingen Council’s Local Housing Strategy, HMAG are making connections within and around their community to secure housing as a human right.
“I don’t want to miss the boat… I don’t want our community to go the way of gentrification”Rose West, Secretary of HMAG
The film follows the members of the Bellingen Nambucca Affordable Housing Action Group from its inception in 2017 when the local community first came together to discuss increasing community concerns around the lack of affordable housing. The film captures personal stories, interwoven with the Action Group’s journey to date, tracking the group’s efforts to inform the recently approved Bellingen Shire Local Housing Strategy Action Plan 2020-2040.
Home Matters reminds audiences that the grassroots can create positive change and that everyone deserves a safe, secure and affordable home.