JUST one-quarter of Bathurst respondents rated the city's access to affordable housing as good when they took part in a recent survey.
(min cost $8)
Login or signup to continue reading
Half of them said they were highly concerned about housing affordability in Bathurst and just under one-third said they were highly concerned about homelessness.
The results are contained in the inaugural ACM (publisher of the Western Advocate) Heartbeat of Australia study which was released recently.
Produced in partnership with the University of Canberra, the study was based on the responses of thousands of Australians from regional areas and the major metropolitan cities in a 15-minute online questionnaire between March and May.
Of the Bathurst participants, just 24 per cent rated access to affordable housing as good in the city (compared with 33 per cent in Orange and equal to 24 per cent in Dubbo) and 33 per cent rated it as poor.
Affordable housing and homelessness have been in the news in Bathurst in recent times as the city's population continues to surge, particularly as Sydneysiders find a new home in regional NSW.
At a barbecue held in Kings Parade in August to mark Homelessness Week, Wattle Tree House homeless and housing support manager Kristy Benham gave an insight into the problem in Bathurst.
"There's not many rentals and what rentals there are are not in the affordability of our clients," she said.
She said there were 30 or 40 people applying for the same private rentals, while the wait lists for social housing were long.
Ms Benham said homelessness didn't have to be sleeping in a car or on a park bench, but could be people "couch surfing, people who are not in suitable accommodation, overcrowding - it's such a wide umbrella".
The recent Regional Movers Index, meanwhile, listed Bathurst Regional as one of the top five local government areas (LGAs) for annual growth in migration from the nation's capital cities
And Bathurst mayor Robert Taylor told the Western Advocate in April that the flow of Sydneysiders moving to Bathurst had increased due to the "COVID-driven go regional trend" and "discussions with new residents does indicate an increasing number are retaining jobs in Sydney and working from home in Bathurst, travelling to Sydney on an as-needed basis".
Councillor Marg Hogan told the Western Advocate in August that she was open to the idea of building apartment blocks to increase the housing supply in the city.
"I'm just doing my own research [on housing projects] because I'm aware of some very exciting projects that are happening," she said.
"If you have a look at groups like Nightingale Housing, which operate out of Victoria, and there's another one called Assemble, they have different models. Some of them are rent-to-buy models, but they're also using best practice in terms of design."
She said she had also been learning about affordable community housing models, where there were communal spaces that residents could share.
The Heartbeat of Australia study showed 50 per cent of Bathurst respondents said they were highly concerned about housing affordability (slightly less than 53 per cent in Orange, but equal to 50 per cent in Dubbo) and 32 per cent of Bathurst respondents said they were highly concerned about homelessness (less than 36 per cent in Orange and 49 per cent in Dubbo).
ACM research director Alex Mihalovich said respondents from Bathurst, Orange and Dubbo all had similar insights regarding housing affordability and homelessness, but it was Dubbo, of the three, that was most concerned about homelessness.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.