Smart Living Society

For the March edition of the HT, we are highlighting the Smart Living Society – a limited company on a mission to design and build a collaborative, harmonious community, by creating a viable working model of co-housing which enables independent, healthy living, and to encourage alliances with other like-minded organisations.

Are you struggling to find affordable rental housing in Maleny to work and /or continue living here? Alternatively, do you know of someone who has been forced to leave Maleny for this reason? 

Greg Williams, a founding member and passionate Director of Smart Living Society Limited, says that there has always been a shortage of rentals in Maleny but never before to the current extent and at such high prices.

“We know that there are many local residents who have rented a home here for decades, who have made their lives in our town, who have contributed a lot to our local community and are well known to other residents, but through no fault of their own have become vulnerable,” said Greg. 

A recent report commissioned by Well Home Loans had just one property out of 612 rentals available for more than 21 days, while weekly rentals for houses increased by an alarming $150 per week in Maleny. 

“We are also aware that the causes of housing vulnerability can be many and varied,” continued Greg. 

“They can include, but are not limited to, common occurrences that can befall a member of a family or an individual at any time. 

Causes range from a marriage breakdown or divorce when over 55, the death of a partner, an accident or health incident causing a permanent disability or mental illness, to the loss of employment, low income, and or a sudden unexpected long-term need to care for one or more children and or grandchildren. 

“The increase in rental prices and the soaring recent property sales purchased by owner occupiers has compounded an already existing shortage of suitable rental housing in place in Maleny,” said Greg. 

“Some of these people have been forced to move further afield to find affordable rental accommodation. 

“The impact of this is devastating to them and to their family, friends, local businesses, sporting and recreational groups and the wider community.”

This issue first became apparent six years ago and was the catalyst to the formation of Smart Living Society Limited by a small number of local residents. 

“Our goal was to create secure affordable rental housing in Maleny so long term residents do not have to leave town,” Greg shared. 

Smart Living Society Limited has subsequently been registered as a charitable organisation, enabling donations to be tax deductible. 

“We are a dedicated bunch of local people who have been striving to accomplish our goal for several years and refuse to give up,” smiled Greg.

“Our directors and members are all volunteers and our minimal administration expenses are funded from raffles and local events. Therefore 100% of donations are automatically banked into our charitable fund for the purpose of creating affordable rental housing.”

However, Maleny is not the only rural community affected by an affordable rental housing crisis. 

This issue is also adversely affecting many other Sunshine Coast hinterland towns, as well as rural and regional towns throughout Queensland and Australia 

Greg concluded, “We believe that we have created a build-to-rent affordable rental housing model to address this crisis and meet the urgent rental housing needs of vulnerable Queenslanders that can be replicated by other communities in Queensland and throughout Australia.

“We are willing to share our knowledge and expertise to address this urgent problem.”

Is this something that you are passionate about? The Smart Living Society members welcome your input and ideas. Contact them at admin@smartlivingsociety.org or visit their website: smartlivingsocietylimited.org

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