On Monday 19 July 2021 local Toowoomba social activist and resident Ellisa Parker hosted the forum on ‘housing is a human right’ where the participants explored the concept of tiny home living and the multiple benefits created for the community, in the concept of emergency transitional and affordable housing options.
There was good attendance at the Toowoomba city library as well as attendees on Zoom which generated great discussion and active collaboration during the Q&A session.
“Those people who spend money in the way of God in a hidden or explicit manner will receive great reward from their Creator.” (Quran: 2:247)
Since housing is a human right, within the state of Queensland, homelessness must be appropriately addressed under the Human Rights Act QLD 2019 as well as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
The occurrence of homelessness within our community adds great stress to the individual experience in homelessness and services such as health, education, and social services.
In addition, when homelessness is not addressed adequately by the governing bodies, it can create an environment that heightens the occurrence of crime and risk to personal and community safety, thus putting unnecessary pressure on police and emergency services.
The efforts that local groups such as lifelines and other NGOs do to assist in easing the stress of those at risk and experiencing homelessness should not be underestimated. However, the one issue that has been continually present within this region and Queensland and Australia as a whole is the apparent lack of emergency housing, transitional housing and affordable or social housing.
Much of Toowoomba region social housing has been sold off and not appropriately replaced or is inadequate for habitation. Building designs also suffer from the lacks of acceptable environmental protections from extreme cold in winter and extreme heat in summer.
If Australia should follow suit with the USA’s decision in 2016, where after a rigorous process of examination, US authorities demonstrated the acceptance of Tiny Houses as a legitimate form of housing, thanks to the International Code Council where the International Residential Code (IRC) approved an appendix dedicated to specifying the safety standards for Tiny Houses.
Australia would have an opportunity to implement more sustainable housing diversity, greater land utilisation and genuine housing equality for the community.
Australia is a smart country, we have some of the best universities in the world that offer urban planning and architectural design providing an opportunity for a uniquely Australian approach that could be adopted for tiny home living.
A safe community that eases the pressure on health services, where all have access to an education, then encouraging your representatives in local, state and federal government to amend building codes and planning schemes to adopt tiny home living is a worthy cause.