No quick fixes will reduce 50K social housing queue, community housing peak warns

13 October 2021– A NSW Government inquiry into ‘existing and alternative accommodation’ options to tackle the chronic shortage of social housing has been warned by the community housing peak body that there are no shortcuts around boosting housing supply to get 50,000 families off the waitlist.

In its submission to the Committee for Community Services Inquiry, the Community Housing Industry Association (CHIA) NSW says an immediate funding injection to get shovel-ready projects off the ground and a Social Housing Capital Fund for long-term construction are essential to getting families off the waitlist as quickly as possible.

CHIA NSW is also calling for permanent funding for the Together Home Program to reduce street homelessness, and planning reforms to fast-track non-profit community housing developments, reduce the costs of delivery, and increase support for local councils establishing new social and affordable housing projects.

“It’s good to see an inquiry stepping up to address our chronic social housing shortage, but seeking alternatives to building homes is setting us up for failure,” says Mark Degotardi, CEO of CHIA NSW.

“We have 50,000 families across the state who are waiting 10 years or more, just for a place to live. There’s no escaping the fact we actually need to build homes for them to live in.

“Crisis accommodation and meanwhile use housing are all important initiatives, but they are by definition temporary.

“Those 50,000 families on the waitlist need somewhere to live. Not a place to shelter tonight, or next week, but an actual home.

“What’s needed is long-term affordable rental housing, the kind that non-profit community housing providers build at a reduced cost to the taxpayer.  Consistent investment by Government in social and affordable housing creates employment, economic growth and a place to live for some of the State’s most vulnerable families.

“Community housing providers have shovel-ready projects right across the state that just need a funding injection from the government to get them off the ground.

“The government could announce that funding tomorrow, and soon we’d have hundreds of new social and affordable homes for those families across Sydney and regional NSW.

“Families are getting desperate across metropolitan and regional communities and the situation is getting worse.  We can’t wait any longer for action.  The NSW Government must step up and invest in social and affordable housing to solve this crisis.”

Public hearings for the Inquiry have not been scheduled but are expected to take place in late October or early November 2021.

Media contact: Kayla Foster, 0447 040 029

CHIA NSW’s submission to the Community Services Inquiry can be downloaded here.