A sense of frustration and helplessness is being felt by many in the community as they or their friends become homeless as the housing and rental prices continue to increase.
But local Liz Friend has decided that it is time to take action and help people who are struggling to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table.
She has started the Reality Check Campaign that is asking people who are relatively secure in their lives to help those who aren’t.
Liz told The Echo, ‘The heart and soul of Byron Shire is getting lost, amidst a growing housing crisis. Property prices have jumped exponentially and the less better off have been forced out of their homes, out of town, sleeping in their cars, couch-surfing or living on the streets, simply because they cannot afford the unreasonable increases in rent. Alternatively, their houses are being sold by landlords taking advantage of the property boom, or being let for short-term holiday letting, taking them out of the residential rental market’.
‘I am encouraging people to donate funds to assist in this emergency, literally to provide food and shelter to those who have, through no fault of their own, been displaced by this tragic scenario’.
Donating to the Reality Check campaign will help support the Housing Solutions Fund that is helping grow low cost housing in the region and the Impact Now fund that focuses on helping community organisations that are on the ground supporting people in crisis. Both these funds are being run via the Northern Rivers Community Foundation, who are working on a number of housing solutions that bring together local and state government, housing providers, philanthropists and social impact investors, builders at cost, developers and pro bono professionals.
Liz says, ‘We all need to come together so that we do not divide into two – the haves and the have nots – we need each other. We all need to take responsibility here. At the moment, people are being forgotten. There are increasing and obvious mental health issues emerging, along with tragic stories of people feeling secure one minute, lost and feeling hopeless the next’.
Donations to the Reality Check campaign are tax deductible, and it is a very tangible way to help people in need, says Liz.
‘Help to manage this crisis, and foster the sense of community that we need to take Byron Shire forward with kindness, compassion and integrity. It’s time,’ says Liz.