Small steps by Sunshine Coast council to help with housing crisis

IN RECOGNITION of the housing crisis and cost of living, Sunshine Coast Council has waived permit fees for those having to temporarily live in a tent, car, caravan or mobile home and who, due to extenuating circumstances, will find it difficult to pay. 

Service Excellence and Customer Service Portfolio Councillor Christian Dickson said council understood rising housing pressures had placed a burden on many local families.  

“Some people have no choice but to live in a temporary home until their circumstances improve,” Cr Dickson said.  

“Prior to this decision, the $514 application fee to apply for a temporary home permit may have made it difficult for people struggling to make ends meet. 

“Waiving the fee for those who are experiencing financial hardship or other legitimate circumstances such as family or domestic violence, will help them gain approval for temporary housing sooner.” 

Approval is for a limited duration, depending on the type of temporary home: 

*less than three months for a tent 

*six months for a car 

*18 months for a bus, caravan, or mobile home. 

Where more time is required, the fee to reapply for a temporary home approval is $392. 

However where council has previously waived the fee, council will again consider any extenuating circumstances. 

Cr Dickson said no two cases were the same and council would carefully consider the circumstances of each application. 

“Our priority is to ensure everyone – including our most vulnerable people – is safe. 

“While it is important, we support people who need to access a temporary home, council also has obligations to protect and manage health and safety, the environment, and reduce impacts on nearby properties and public spaces. 

“This includes ensuring temporary homes are not placed in known bushfire or flood prone areas; waste, sewage, and grey water are disposed of safely; and the temporary home is safe for use and the occupants have access to, or a plan for, kitchen, bathroom, and toilet needs. 

“Our officers will make this as easy as possible for applicants, understanding many may not have online access and may be facing significant challenges. 

“Importantly, the approval process also enables officers to connect people to help and services when additional support is needed. 

“While this is a significant step in the right direction, there is much more work to do, and we are continuing to look at mechanisms across council to find solutions.” 

The reduced fee of $0 came into effect from February 24, 2023, and information on council’s website.  

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