It takes a village

My Home Network members, Kaz Neilson, Janet Trotter, Isabella Shaw, Alison Whitten and Jan Steen.

How the community can work together to address Mount Alexander Shire’s housing crisis is the focus of a new 10-year social and affordable housing strategy to be launched at Castlemaine Town Hall next week.

My Home Network developed the Mount Alexander Shire My Home Network 10-year social and affordable housing strategy in collaboration with a range of local and specialist stakeholders and in consultation with Mount Alexander Shire Council.

“Castlemaine Health recognises the impact of housing stress on our community, and we are proud to support and participate in the work of the My Home Network, working collaboratively with local services, government, housing specialists, community and people with lived experience of homelessness and housing stress,” said Castlemaine Health CEO, Sue Race.

Everyone is invited along to the launch, which will feature a range of MHN speakers on local housing solutions, and importantly, community members will have the opportunity to sign up to one of MHN’s working groups to be part of the housing solution.

“The Mount Alexander Shire community has a strong culture of citizen engagement – in fact the highest in Victoria – and a passion for social change on issues that impact people in a vulnerable state in their community,” said My Home Network coordinator, Carolyn Neilson.

“We have the land, resources, expertise, experience, compassion and political leadership needed to address the current housing crisis and to create real, lasting change.”

Ms Neilson said the strategy aimed to achieve an ambitious yet balanced approach to increasing affordable housing across the shire.

“Our housing crisis is a complex but resolvable social and economic issue, that is not just about a house but a home and community members’ place in and connection to community,” she said.

“This is about the local community coming together to create housing solutions for local people.

“It requires ambitious, bold decisions and an ongoing commitment to housing equity.”

According to Ms Neilson, on any given night 64 community members are homeless in Mount Alexander Shire, 220 families are seeking support for housing crisis, there is a shortfall of around 100 diverse, safe and affordable rental homes.

“Our shire needs at least around 590 social housing units and far more crisis and transition housing to meet current demand. Currently there is only one motel room for crisis housing,” Ms Neilson said.

My Home Network is a collaboration of community and government organisations, community members and lived experience of homelessness formed in response to increasing concerns about the lack of affordable, safe, secure, sustainable and appropriate housing in Mount Alexander Shire. It is coordinated by Central Victorian Prevention and Population Health of Bendigo Health.

The launch will be held from 7pm-9pm, Wednesday June 29, at the Castlemaine Town Hall.