Since my return from the National Housing Conference I have had time to reflect on what I have seen and learnt over the four key days. During the Conference ideas were shared, debated and promoted on housing research, policy and practice. I have gained new knowledge that great work is already being done in housing within Australia, but the cold hard facts are clear that the really hard work needs to start now.
In my opinion this was the first Conference that I have particpated in that concentrated on the necessities of project financing. It was not a forum for social & housing hysteria. It focused on the realities of project structuring, finance and the alternative methods of development structuring. The certainty of an increasing Australian population and the requirements for accommodating this growing diverse populace is a critical contemporary social issue. Key worker housing, affordable dwellings and social accommodation in a broad and diverse accommodation mix, are essential.
I was warmly welcomed by residents in several highly successful mixed tenure developments. The striking issue was that, even though these people owned very little and had experienced extreme hardships and difficulties in their lives they were prepared to welcome me into their homes. It was highly evident that these residents were willing to share the simple fact of having security and a roof over their heads.
I have come away from this Conference with a renewed perspective on the role and importance of development strategy; and the pressing need of having industry professionals who truly understand all the complexities involved in creating and developing successful national housing projects.
It is essential that we continue to innovate, challenge conservative thinking and push the boundaries to encourage and support the housing debate within Australia.
For more information on housing, homelessness & cities please visit www.ahuri.edu.au