50,000 families on housing waitlist left out in the cold by State Budget

Media release

21 June 2022

The NSW Government has left no hope for the tens of thousands of families across NSW on the social housing waitlist and at risk of homelessness, as the Budget failed to deliver any significant investment in social and affordable housing, Community Housing Industry Association NSW (CHIA NSW) said today.

“This winter will be colder than ever for the more than 50,000 families on the state’s social housing waitlist, knowing there is little help coming their way in the State Budget,” said Caitlin McDowell, Head of Policy at CHIA NSW.

“While announcing a range of new initiatives geared towards prospective home-owners, the NSW Government seems to have forgotten the third of their population who are renters, many struggling just to keep a roof over their heads.

“Interest rates and rental prices are rising, the cost of living is soaring, and our state is in the midst of a housing vulnerability crisis. The social housing waitlist has average wait times in many parts of the state of up to more than 10 years.

“There will be 320 new social housing properties built as announced in this Budget, a number which falls desperately short of what our state needs,’ Ms McDowell said.

CHIA NSW responded to several announcements made in the Budget relating to social and affordable housing which are summarised below:  

  • $37 million has been committed towards delivering 120 new social housing dwellings for households in the Together Home program. The program has housed nearly 800 people in two years, but 120 new homes in the Budget is not enough to break the cycle of homelessness in NSW.
  • $300 million was pledged towards maintenance and upgrades to more than 15,800 social housing properties to address a severe backlog. While necessary, maintenance and upgrades will merely keep the lights on in existing homes without making any increase to housing supply.
  • $149.8 million was announced for delivering 200 new and 260 upgraded homes for First Nations people. These initiatives are a positive start in addressing the Closing the Gap housing targets and improving housing outcomes for First Nations peoples.
  • $500 million will go towards housing infrastructure, planning, and rezoning initiatives aimed at delivering new homes across the state. However, these initiatives will not guarantee improved affordability outcomes for renters.

CHIA NSW said that the Government is focused on home ownership and infrastructure while ignoring those struggling to find a safe, secure and affordable home.

“These announcements provide little evidence to demonstrate that the NSW Government is committed to addressing the housing vulnerability crisis,’ Ms McDowell said.

“These are everyday people who are being left to shelter on couches or in cars, caravan parks and even the streets. And yet our Government has turned its back on them,” said Ms McDowell.

CHIA NSW is calling on the Government to make a real and long-term commitment to invest in social housing.

“We know when people make it into social housing, their lives are transformed – you only have to look at our Prime Minister to know how true this is,” Ms McDowell said.

Community housing providers are not-for-profit, meaning they can invest every dollar made back into the community, building more housing, supporting local jobs, and most importantly improving the lives of the families and individuals who live in the housing.

“Community housing providers have built more than 5,300 homes and generated over $1.7 billion of economic activity over the last decade and are ready to do more. We cannot do it alone,” Ms McDowell said.

Media Contact: Kayla Foster, 0447 040 029