18 May 2023
The Community Housing Industry Association NSW (CHIA NSW) said it is encouraged to hear the Minns Government is investigating ways to confront the housing crisis and homelessness but has warned that converting office buildings is not an immediate solution.
The peak community housing body cautioned that these spaces are often unsuitable for housing and that the resources it would take to properly retrofit them would be better spent on increasing purpose-built social and affordable housing supply.
“The State Government wanting to be proactive and creative about confronting the housing crisis is completely welcomed but we want to ensure government resources are being utilised in the most effective ways possible,” said Caitlin McDowell, Head of Policy at CHIA NSW.
“Converting offices or other commercial spaces into permanent social housing would take a significant investment of resources by the State Government to make the spaces liveable.
“We would much prefer to see that investment be dedicated towards increasing the supply of new social and affordable housing properties which have been designed for people in greatest need,” said Ms McDowell.
CHIA NSW said the social housing waitlist increased by 15 percent in the last year and is only expected to rise as the cost of private rentals continues to skyrocket while vacancy rates sit at record lows.
“Government investing in social and affordable housing to be delivered by community housing providers is the most cost-effective way to get vulnerable people into safe, secure and affordable homes. Community housing providers are non-profit organisations who exist to support people into a home – investing in them is a win for NSW families,” said Ms McDowell.
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