Group formed to help all residents stay cool

With extreme heat a long-term aspect of life in western Sydney, knowing how to stay cool is essential. Picture: Shutterstock
With extreme heat a long-term aspect of life in western Sydney, knowing how to stay cool is essential. Picture: Shutterstock

Wentworth Community Housing, Hume Housing and Evolve Housing, together with their tenants and Hawkesbury and Penrith councils, have partnered to help educate vulnerable community members about managing the hot weather.

The parties have formed The Western Sydney Heat and Social Housing Project to help social housing tenants and other vulnerable community members manage their health at home during instances of extreme heat and heatwaves.

According to current modelling, average temperatures in western Sydney are set to continue to rise.

"For many people in Western Sydney, air conditioning is not an affordable option," said Wentworth Community Housing divisional manager of sustainable communities Heather Chaffey.

"We have a responsibility to ensure that all people can stay cool and healthy in their homes, no matter their personal income. It really requires a whole community response.

"We need to check on our neighbours and elders, we need to share tips on how to cope, and we need to ask decision makers to help and plan ahead."

As part of the project, with the help of tenants, resources have been developed including fact sheets, posters, social media assets and videos. They focus on cost-effective ways to keep cool.

The first video features social housing tenants and community members delivering helpful tips on managing the heat in the home.

The second video educates the wider community about the issue of rising heat in Western Sydney. It features experts from Western Sydney University and Penrith Council, as well as a personal story from a social housing resident.

The project is funded viathe NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment's Increasing Resilience to Climate Change program.