‘We Can’t Wait’: new campaign to end housing limbo for 50,000 families

The Community Housing Industry Association NSW (CHIA NSW) is calling for urgent action to address NSW’s social housing waiting list, which has over 50,000 households waiting for up to 10 years or more for safe, secure and affordable housing.

CHIA NSW has warned that households on the social housing waitlist are paying unaffordable private market rents, couch-surfing with family and friends, seeking help from homelessness services – or at worst, sleeping rough.

An analysis of the NSW Department of Communities & Justice’s social housing waitlist by CHIA NSW shows:

  • – 29,374 households on the social housing waitlist in Greater Sydney
  • – 1,684 in Newcastle
  • – 2,438 in Wollongong
  • – 2,652 in the Northern Rivers
  • – 2,912 in the Mid North Coast

Quotes attributable to Mark Degotardi, CEO of CHIA NSW:

We Can’t Wait is advocating for families, retirees and key workers waiting 5, 10 or more years for social housing and being crushed by Sydney’s unstoppable housing market.”

“We are already facing a waiting list crisis with over 50,000 households already on waiting lists.”

“The NSW Government’s 2021-22 Intergenerational Report has predicted that an additional 68,000 households will need social housing, meaning waiting lists will more than double by 2061.”

“We need to clear the list now and start planning for the surging demand over decades to come.”

“The NSW Government has already made important contributions to addressing the housing crisis, including supporting hundreds of homeless people during COVID-19 and releasing an inaugural 20-year NSW Housing Strategy, but we need dedicated funding to address long-term housing need.”

“We have non-profit community housing providers with shovel-ready projects that could be developed in partnership with the NSW Government starting today.”

“In less than a decade, community housing providers have built thousands of new homes across NSW, created thousands of new construction jobs, and contributed $1.2 billion to the state’s economy. We can do much more with more government support.” 

“Not for profit community housing providers stand ready to support the government in building social and affordable housing across the state. That must start with committed long-term funding in this month’s NSW Budget to address the state’s housing affordability crisis and end rising homelessness.”

Appendix: Social housing waitlist in metropolitan Sydney

Area 2020 Waiting List (Households)
Inner city 1127
Eastern Suburbs 1254
Leichhardt/Marrickville 1385
St George 1756
Inner West 1460
Canterbury 792
Riverwood 276
Northern Suburbs 1770
Northern Beaches 744
Sutherland 745

* Social Housing waitlist data sourced from Social Housing waiting list data to June 2019 and June 2020, NSW Department of Communities & Justice website – housing waiting times/numbers of people waiting: https://www.facs.nsw.gov.au/housing/help/applying-assistance/expected-waiting-times