The Northern Rivers may be the holiday destination of choice for Christmas but for the thousands of people experiencing homelessness it is a region crying out for action. Speaking about their current Housing Campaign, Social Futures chief executive Tony Davies says voters have the power to influence change and with the New South Wales state election in March, now is the time to act. “The housing crisis on the Northern Rivers has really become a key issue for voters, and this region has a history of lifting its voice to campaign for important change. The Northern Rivers people have big hearts and they will vote accordingly,” said Mr Davies. The festive season isn’t so merry for many, according to North Coast Community Housing chief executive John McKenna who says anyone can find themselves homeless in the current housing crisis and this is the most challenging time of year for those without a home. “The housing situation in our region is at crisis point. We need urgent investment in both affordable housing and social housing stock to respond to the growing number of people facing homelessness,” Mr McKenna said. Mr McKenna said that for a region with just 4% of the state’s population, the Northern Rivers is home to 20% of its rough sleepers. Almost 1,500 people were recorded as homeless in the Northern Rivers in the ABS Census (2016). A further 1,370 people were in marginal housing like overcrowded dwellings or caravan parks and many more were sleeping rough. “Thousands of locals will be spending Christmas without a home, but there is something we can all do. By contacting your MPs and candidates now you are saying very clearly, everyone deserves a home, and this is what the Northern Rivers will be voting on,” said Mr McKenna. Add your voice to the Housing Crisis Campaign at socialfutures.org.au/whats-it-going-to-take where you will find contact details for local members and candidates, sample letters and the list of six key actions from the Northern Rivers Housing Forum.