NSW social housing investment key to new jobs and stopping rise in homelessness

COVID-19 has placed thousands of families in NSW at risk of homelessness, with new economic modelling released today highlighting the immediate need for social housing stimulus, the Community Housing Industry Association NSW (CHIA NSW) has said.

16,000 more people in NSW are now facing homelessness due to unemployment from COVID-19 according to research produced by Equity Economics[1]. A further 85,000 residential construction sector jobs are at risk over the next 18 months, with 97,000 Small and Medium Enterprises risking closure due to slowed investment.

CHIA NSW CEO Mark Degotardi said targeted social housing stimulus funding could reduce unemployment and homelessness arising from the economic fallout of COVID-19.

“The NSW Government has launched bold policies to expedite planning processes and new arrangements to support housing. These are very welcome and important reforms.  What is needed now is further government investment and reforms to spur the next phase of growth and recovery to overcome the impact of COVID-19 on our state’s economy and communities.”

“Community housing providers are job creators,” said Mr Degotardi. “Thousands of jobs have been created over the last decade by over community housing providers building, maintaining and managing homes for more than 50,000 NSW households. In partnership with  government, we can continue to deliver both homes for people who need them and the economic stimulus that will help our state recover from this crisis,’ said Mr Degotardi.

CHIA NSW is calling for the establishment of a dedicated Social and Affordable Housing Capital Fund to support at least 5,000 homes being built per annum in NSW, to support new jobs and expand social housing supply for families.

“Funding new housing is one of the best investments our governments can make,” said Mr Degotardi. “For every dollar invested in social housing, 1.3 times that amount is returned to the economy.[2] This modelling shows that building 5,000 social housing units would support 18,000 jobs across NSW. That means new jobs for NSW, more certainty for businesses, and more families in secure homes.”

“With the housing market struggling under the economic uncertainty caused by the pandemic, this is the ideal time for governments to take the lead and invest in our housing supply. Without new projects in the pipeline, the social housing waitlist of 60,000 households will only grow, while those still waiting suffer the negative social impacts of unaffordable, insecure housing.”

Media contact: Hannah Craft, 0423 377 965

 

Appendix – CHIA NSW Policy Recommendations:

CHIA NSW is calling for:

1) Establish a Social and Affordable Housing Capital Fund to grow the supply of social housing by 5,000 per annum, and similar for affordable housing, starting with options to permanently house those in extended temporary arrangements through:

  • The identification and purchase of vacant, or soon-to-be completed, developments for conversion to social or affordable housing
  • Identification of government-owned properties for conversion to social housing

2) Prioritise and fund a Housing First approach that provides tailored support, alongside social housing.

3) Expand the Community Housing Leasing Program to increase the number of properties available through community housing providers and urgently respond to the growing demand for permanent housing options for people in temporary accommodation.

4) Build on the $60 million already allocated to the maintenance of ageing social housing stock, by allocating additional funds to support a comprehensive maintenance program across the entire NSW social housing portfolio

5) Mandated targets for social and affordable housing in new residential developments of up to 15% on private land and 30% on government land.

6) A National Housing Strategy that articulates roles and responsibilities, the contribution of the Federal Government to the Social and Affordable Housing Capital Fund and other levers available at the national level to complement and bolster state initiatives.

[1] Report commissioned by NSW Council of Social Services, CHIA NSW, Homelessness NSW and the Tenants’ Union NSW.

[2] KMPG Social Housing Initiative Review, page 2, September 2012, http://www.nwhn.net.au/admin/file/content101/c6/social_housing_initiative_review.pdf