8.2 C
Byron Shire
June 18, 2024

Helping homeless ‘not core business’ but ‘we have to help each other’ say Tweed Council

Latest News

Greens Councillor Dr Nola Firth is running for council again

Dr Nola Firth has announced that she is again running for Tweed Shire Council in the upcoming 14 September...

Other News

Wilsons Creek Public School scoops NSW Landcare award

Wilsons Creek Public School was honoured with the Woolworths Junior Landcare Award on June 3 at the NSW Landcare Awards.

Police make arrest over Wallum protests

Save Wallum protectors, a NSW MLC and a retired magistrate have questioned the use of police resources after those supporting efforts to save rare ecological heathland in Brunswick Heads from urban development were contacted by Tweed-Byron Police Detectives.

Man dies following fatal crash – Yorklea, south of Casino

About 1am on Thursday emergency services responded to reports after a vehicle crashed into a tree.

Maive takes on illiteracy in the Northern Rivers

Lismore student Maive McKenzie will be a World Literacy Foundation Youth Ambassador for 2024 and will serve as a local advocate, aiming to increase education and community awareness about the importance of reading and writing and to lift literacy rates in Northern Rivers.  

Students fired up for marine protection  

There is something deeply inspiring about a hall full of young humans who are passionate about saving the planet. Tired narratives about apathy and disengagement dissolve as those who are inheriting ecological wounds inflicted by past generations seek solutions and healing.

Occupiers of North Lismore buybacks report no eviction past deadline

Supporters of people occupying otherwise empty bought-back houses in North Lismore say Monday passed peacefully without any eviction attempts.

Tweed Shire has the third highest rate of homelessness in NSW and in the 2021 census ‘we had the biggest increase in homelessness across NSW,’ Tweed Mayor, Chris Cherry, told yesterday’s council meeting.

‘We are second only to the City of Sydney Council and Byron Shire Council in terms of the number of people we’ve got sleeping on the streets.’

In 2021 Tweed Shire Council (TSC) declared a ‘Housing Emergency’ due to ‘the lack of affordable and attainable housing in the Tweed’.

‘Since then we have had 500 homes rendered unliveable by the 2022 floods and a significant domestic inward migration to our region as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,’ said staff notes on the issue. 

Councillors have now thrown their support behind the ‘Housing First “Common Ground” model’ and are pushing ahead to create a business case for an affordable housing project for Tweed Heads. This follows conversations with the state government who have said they need to see the ‘numbers and a ‘business case’ for the proposal. 

According to background notes on the recommendation, Housing First is considered ‘best practice for providing sustainable housing for people who have experienced long term or recurring homelessness’. It was originally developed in the United States, in response to the health crisis in New York in the 1990s to offer immediate access to safe, affordable, and permanent housing, partnered with all of the supports necessary to address the person’s mental health, health, and other social needs through a wraparound support model.

The council business case will look at how the state and federal governments can come on board to provide the land and funding to facilitate the development of the project. 

‘Studies do show that it is actually much cheaper to subsidise housing in a wraparound model like this, where people can access the services that they need than to leave people on the streets,’ said Cr Cherry.

Not core council business

Council staff, the mayor and other councillors all recognised that providing housing was not part of the ‘core remit’ of the council while Cr Rhiannon Brinsmead pointed out that, ‘lots of stuff we do is not our core business. But this, in my opinion, is particularly worthy’.

‘We’ve talked about this for months and we’re just gonna go around around circles if we don’t fund a big business case,’ said Councillor Merideth Dennis. 

‘We have over 500 people sleeping in the streets and the difference between the haves and the have nots is getting wider and wider. We can’t just keep saying “oh, well, you know, housing so expensive. Oh, yes, it’s very sad”. We need to get the figures and we need to get the details so that we can access the funding and do something. 

‘It’s not part of our core business, but they are our residents and they are humans. We are humans and we have to help each other. So I’m very supportive.’ 

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


  1. It is commendable that, Tweed Council should do something to help those in need.
    In my experience, the provision of toilets, water and showers and a protected dry area to sleep, would be of great benefit to the poor and travellers. These measures would be of minimum cost and not create a ghetto.
    I am still wondering what happened to Echo story, of the twenty-fifth, I think.
    “Byron Council explores indigenous housing
    Byron Council is considering a suite of measures to help ensure that local Aboriginal people can own houses on Country.”
    Perhaps a can of worms on steroids, Cheers, G”)

  2. ‘Not core business’ ?
    Why is it not core business to first ensure that everyone has the basics that every human needs eg, food, water and shelter?


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

16-year-old Mullum boy summits Imja Tse

Back in 2017, nine-year-old local boy, Finn Marshall-Rosato, became the youngest Australian to trek to Everest Base Camp, unaided and carrying all his own gear. 

Labor announces its councillor ticket

Labor councillor, Asren Pugh, and South Golden Beach local, Janet Swain will head the Byron Shire Labor team to contest the Byron Shire Council elections on September 14.

Volunteer groups get funding

Fourteen projects led by volunteer groups have been awarded $300,000 through the Community Building Partnership Program, says local Greens MP, Tamara Smith.

Wilsons Creek Public School scoops NSW Landcare award

Wilsons Creek Public School was honoured with the Woolworths Junior Landcare Award on June 3 at the NSW Landcare Awards.