On the morning of the 2nd July 2014, a fire uncovered an illegal student housing compound in Alexandria. It was discovered that the living conditions of these international students/workers were living in “third world housing squalor” in a combination of old buses, storage units and broken caravans. This is only one of an increasingly number of news headlines stemming from media outlets highlighting the need to address the key issues affecting Sydney’s youth on affordable housing on a daily basis.
The National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling found one in five Australians aged 25 to 34 are housing stressed, spending more than 30 per cent of a low income on housing. 60,000 Sydneysiders are currently on the NSW public waiting lists, with 70% of this list under the age of 35 who can’t afford home ownership in Sydney and those on average earnings who are being priced out of the rental accommodation within easy commute of Sydney’s CBD.
Youth Action executive director, Eamon Waterford said “Housing affordability is the single biggest issue facing young people in Sydney today”. Committee for Sydney chief executive Tim Williams even goes as far as to say “We are losing talented people in their 20s and 30s who are going to live in Melbourne and elsewhere. Cities work best when a diverse range of demographics are incorporated into their centres – Sydney is at risk of losing that. We need to bring young people into the conversation.”
As part of BlueCHP Limited’s commitment to help address the current affordable housing crisis in Sydney, BCL’s CEO Charles Northcote and Compliance Manager Christina Chiu attended the inaugural first Youth Housing summit on the 2nd June 2014 gathered in Sydney and attended by sixty future leaders aged between 18 to 35 years old from across all parts of Sydney.
The Youth Housing Summit was a partnership brought together between the Committee for Sydney, Sydney Alliance and Youth Action and drew together sixty young people from all walks of life. They gathered to call on Premier Mike Baird to champion high-density affordable housing so young people can live in more affordable housing closer to their universities and their jobs.
BCL CEO, Charles Northcote participated as part of a leadership panel of Senior Leaders in the Housing and Youth sectors in Australia who volunteered their time to provide guidance and mentorship to young leaders during the course of the day on a number of key critical housing issues including affordability, supply, density and homelessness. Charles led discussions amongst a group of young leaders focussing on Affordable Housing along with Nazha Saad, CEO of St George Community Housing (SGCH) and Charles Rich from Settlement Services International (SSI)
BCL Compliance Manager, Christina Chiu had also attended the Youth Housing Summit as BCL’s nominated young leader participating actively in discussion with her focus group in providing the group with a community housing perspective on how affordable housing affect young people in Sydney. Stemming from the Youth Housing Summit, Christina is currently on a taskforce of young leaders to bring together the initial ideas stemming from the Summit to present to the NSW State Government notably Premier Mike Baird and Ministers Gabrielle Upton (Minister of Family & Community Services) and Pru Goward (Minister of Planning) during a Youth Housing Assembly to be held later this year.