If you think a boardinghouse is the refuge of criminals and drug addicts, you're not alone - but you are wrong, according to Shoalhaven City Council's strategic planning manager Gordon Clark.
There have been six proposals for boardinghouses in the region over the past year or so, and just one in the entire history of the region before that.
Mr Clark said there was a stigma around boardinghouses, but they are a useful housing option for many different people.
"Firstly, I think people confuse boardinghouses with social housing," he said.
"Boardinghouses are like any other private accommodation. Not all people want or can afford a three-bedroom freestanding home."
He said boardinghouses fill a niche in the Shoalhaven housing market that is filled by studio apartments in the city. Young people entering the workforce, apprentices, students and retirees are all groups who may not find a house affordable, but they still need a home.
"New generation" boardinghouses with self-contained rooms and some shared facilities have more in common with apartment blocks than government housing, and are part of a broader strategy to reduce homelessness and housing stress in the region.
"Although the median house price is lower than Sydney, wages are too, and we have a less diverse housing product," Mr Clark said.
"In combination with an ageing population and a high level of casual employment, there is an issue."
Of the six applications made to council, four have been approved so far, while the other two await a decision.
Of the four that have been approved, two have already been built. One in Nowra, built and run by Southern Cross Housing, accomodates mostly young people, and the other in Sanctuary Point, by PDC Planners, is targeted at single retirees.
The other two approved boardinghouses will be in Bomaderry. One of the applications awaiting approval is in Nowra, and the other Vincentia.
Mr Clark understands the community's reservations, but hopes people will come to embrace more variety in the housing market.
"It's not normal in rural areas yet, but it is in the city," he said.
"Life now is not like it was 30 years ago, there are different ways of living."