OPINION: Low-cost housing can be achieved

YOU have to applaud the backers of a new affordable housing project which officially opened in Lismore yesterday.

The two-bedroom townhouses were built by North Coast Community Housing without any government funding.

Again, this is something to be applauded as, too often, we tend to sit back and wait for the government to solve the problem for us.

This Lismore project has four units for sale with three others to be offered at 80% housing rental market rate and two that will go to community housing tenants.

I grew up in Canberra before self-government and in this planned city affordable housing was integrated into every suburb that was developed.

A proportion of the blocks in each suburb had to be hived off for public housing.

The wait list to get in was still lengthy, but nothing like it is here on the Northern Rivers where up to 3,200 people are seeking access to such accommodation.

Public houses in Canberra pretty much looked like every other house around you so there wasn't the stigma that is has it so many other cities.

Every time a tenant moved out of a public house in Canberra there was a mini-refurbishment which included fresh paint, new carpet and any outstanding repairs or maintenance.

Of course this was when the ACT was run by a federal department.

Now that it has its own government I am sure the city is just as squeezed for public housing as anywhere else.