HBNC CEO, Tanya Stevenson, welcomed the Fraser Coast Regional Council's plan to allow caravans to be used as temporary housing on suburban properties for up to six months. An amendment to the local law was passed at Wednesday's council meeting, during which Tanya spoke in favour of the motion. The draft local law will now be handed to the state government and community for further consultation.

Here is the full transcript of Tanya's speech to the council:

The Wide Bay region is experiencing a surge in homelessness. This is affecting the whole community, including young people, women over 50 and families being exited from tenancies due to rent increases.

Housing and homelessness services in both the Fraser Coast and Bundaberg Regional Council areas have significant concerns about the current lack of affordable housing, as well as increasing rates of homelessness across our region.

It’s predicted the situation will continue to escalate unless multiple strategies are put in place to provide a variety of housing options.

The Hervey Bay Neighbourhood Centre and other local services have developed the Strategic Housing paper for the Wide Bay which has recently been updated.

This paper identifies the local needs for housing, what is currently being delivered, and potential short, medium and long-term strategies to address the complex issues of housing in our region.

A short-term goal identified in the strategic housing paper most relevant to the Council relates to the approval of caravans being allowed to remain on residential properties for up to six months.

This has the potential to provide immediate accommodation and could allow the community to support each other during the housing shortage.

A range of data exists, including the Fraser Coast Youth Survey, which highlights that 15% of local young people have experienced homelessness, a 2% increase.

This solution could also assist in the reduction in adolescent to parent violence (APV) with 16% of young people reporting they don’t feel safe in their own home.

While the Strategic Housing Paper is a small snapshot of our region, it demonstrates the need for a strategic approach to housing options. Families are counting on us to find a path out of the housing crisis so please support Councillor Wellings proposal.

Thank you.