The topic of housing has become a subject of conversation for the Lithgow City Council who, after dismissing a motion for a community forum, announced they will be developing a housing strategy.
At the June 30 meeting, councillor Eric Mahony put forth a motion for a community forum, hosted by council, to gain an understanding of local housing needs.
"Essentially, what I tried to ask for was that we get a council information session. For me, I like to go back into the community and understand people's needs," he said.
"There's a lot of talk at the moment about a number of sectors of the community that are at risk with housing. The obvious is homeless people needing emergency and transitional housing.
"They're not healthy situations. If you if you're looking for work and you've got unstable housing, it's a bit of a catch 22."
Councillor Mahony expressed his disappointment about the motion being lost, citing the decision as 'perplexing'.
"This is across all our townships, it's not just a valley issue, it's across the board. That's what I'm really perplexed about," Cr Mahony said.
"To be honest, and quite frankly, I'm really disappointed that we voted 'no' to an information session from our staff, and we voted' no' to talking to key stakeholders in our community about their housing needs.
"That's all my motion was, very much about starting the conversation."
Lithgow City Council announced in a press release on July 5 that a housing strategy will be developed over the next year, which will include a process of extensive consultation.
Part of the strategy will be an assessment of zoning and access matters, as well as a close examination of homelessness in the region.
"The challenge of housing was formerly an urban issue but Lithgow Council has recognised that it is a challenge for this city also," a council representative said.
"People have discovered the regions and that is the case for Lithgow. Work from home is now the norm so the long or short commute to a city isn't so necessary today."
Lithgow region residents have taken to social media to describe their current living arrangements, with many left no other choice than pleading for assistance.
"Some of the comments on Facebook...people are talking about women they know living in tents, living in cars. That's a concern," Cr Mahony said.
"We need to be across and be able to provide a well considered and planned response to to housing needs across our community."
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