3,000 homes to exit affordable housing system as Federal Government axes housing scheme

28 November 2021 – Thousands of low-income families will lose access to affordable housing and be fighting for alternative private rental options as the Federal Government pulls the plug on its affordable housing scheme over the next five years, the Community Housing Industry Association NSW (CHIA NSW) warns.

The National Affordability Scheme (NRAS) has provided 6,470 affordable homes in NSW since it was introduced in 2008. A new report by CHIA NSW has warned that while Community Housing Providers will retain all 3,161 of the NRAS properties they own when the scheme ends, the private owners of 3,360 NRAS properties will stop leasing them as affordable housing.

This means 3,360 homes in NSW will exit the affordable housing system by 2026 with no plans from the Federal Government to replace the scheme, or the lost affordable housing.

The report also found NRAS was extremely successful when delivered by non-profit community housing providers. Mark Degotardi, CEO of CHIA NSW says the Federal Government should reform and perfect the scheme instead of pulling the plug.

“There is absolutely no reason the why Federal Government should cancel a housing scheme that was clearly working when delivered by non-profit providers,” says Mr Degotardi.

“Why not reinvent the scheme and deliver it through community housing providers, with their proven track record of success, to provide thousands more affordable homes for Australian families who are struggling to afford private rentals?

“I can’t believe the Federal Government is now stripping affordable homes from low-income families with no plans to replace them when it’s never been more urgent to get more homes in the system.

“Both state and federal governments have an important role to play in providing social and affordable housing. But as the housing crisis worsens federal governments have turned their backs and abandoned their responsibilities.

“Right now, there are 50,000 families on the social housing wait list in NSW alone. Losing 3,360 affordable homes will have a devastating impact on a system that is already in crisis.

“The supply of affordable housing will decrease as a result, and demand for rentals will increase as people are evicted from ex-NRAS properties. These low-income families will find themselves suddenly without a home and be forced to compete with higher income households in the private rental market.

“Many families will be forced to move away from their communities in search of lower rents – which means moving away from their children’s’ schools, their workplaces and their support networks.”

CHIA NSW is calling for the Federal Government to provide an extended subsidy for existing NRAS properties to help retain a proportion of existing NRAS properties, and to co-invest in a significant new social and affordable housing program in the next National Housing and Homelessness Agreement.

“We need urgent action to retain existing affordable housing, and investment in social and affordable housing to increase the supply,” says Mr Degotardi.

“Unless the Federal Government makes provisions to reform or replace the scheme, they are willingly plunging us further into the housing crisis.”

Media contact: Kayla Foster, 0447 040 029

CHIA NSW report, “What’s next for NRAS” is available to download here.