NSW residents are being asked to open their hearts and their holiday homes to victims of the state’s bushfire crisis.
Rain is set to ease conditions and provide relief for firefighters this week, however thousands remain homeless after bushfires destroyed their homes.
The NSW Rural Fire Service said 2162 homes had been lost this fire season – 1246 since New Year’s Day – with another 849 damaged.
The NSW government on Monday announced a scheme where holiday home owners in fire-hit areas offer them as temporary accommodation for displaced residents.
The scheme was announced by Bega MP Andrew Constance and Kiama MP Gareth Ward, whose electorates are among the hardest-hit by the bushfires.
Owners are being urged to register their holiday homes with local real estate agents so they can be offered to those in need of accommodation, with the government offering financial assistance.
“So many people have asked ‘how can I help?’ Well this is one way,” Mr Ward said.
“Get on the phone to your local real estate agent where you own a property, the department can assist with rental bonds, rental assistance so there’s something in this for everyone.
“But most importantly a home for people who have lost everything.”
Rain is forecast to fall on the Northern Rivers region in northern NSW on Tuesday, with heavier falls expected across the state on Wednesday, Thursday and into the weekend.
Importantly, rain was forecast to fall across fire grounds northwest of Sydney, the South Coast, Southern Highlands and Snowy Mountains.
However, the Bureau of Meteorology and RFS have both expressed caution with the downpours to come with thunderstorms and expected to be patchy.