The Community Housing Industry Association (CHIA) NSW is calling on the state government to significantly increase funding for social and affordable housing.
The call comes off the back of the Anglicare Rental Affordability Snapshot finding every single low-income household is worse off than one year ago.
The snapshot found just one affordable NSW home for a single person on JobSeeker, and three in total across the country. It also found that retirees on the age pension were at particular risk with just 0.5 per cent of rentals being affordable, while for single parents with one child, just 0.3 per cent were affordable.
Mark Degotardi, CEO of CHIA NSW, said funding new social and affordable housing projects must be a top priority in the upcoming state budget to provide urgent relief to thousands of families facing an increased risk of homelessness.
"Every budget is about choices and once again, the NSW government will have a clear choice. Invest in social and affordable housing and deliver hope to hundreds of thousands of people in housing stress in NSW, or abandon these vulnerable families and leave them on the precipice of homelessness," Mr Degotardi said.
"Low-income families are already doing everything they can just to get by. Many of these families are one misfortune away from homelessness and are already making impossible choices between buying food, clothes, schoolbooks or getting medical care.
"The housing market has repeatedly failed to deliver affordable housing options for low-income individuals and families. It is time that the NSW government abandon its reliance on the market model and instead intervene directly to create more affordable rental housing."
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Not-for-profit community housing providers have a long track record in delivering social and affordable housing across NSW.
"Community housing providers have social and affordable housing projects ready to go right now and CHIA NSW calls on the government to fund these projects as an urgent priority. This investment will not only create economic growth and jobs, but deliver long-term social and economic benefits to NSW and to those families who receive safe, secure and affordable housing," Mr Degotardi said.
CHIA NSW has outlined its policy proposals for the NSW government this state budget as part of its pre-budget submission. Some of those proposals include:
- The construction of 5,000 social housing units per year for the next 10 years. Responsibility for the delivery of new social housing should be shared evenly between the NSW Land and Housing Corporation and the NSW community housing sector.
- Invest $500 million in a comprehensive repairs and maintenance program for social housing, with the objective that all social housing properties in NSW achieve a 'well-maintained' or 'maintained' standard by 2025.
- Deliver a program that makes available surplus government-owned land for development for diverse and affordable housing by community housing providers.
- Review existing funding mechanisms and operating subsidies for community housing, with the objective of identifying the most efficient and sustainable models to deliver social and affordable housing.
- Commit ongoing funding to the Together Home program to end street homelessness by 2028.