Advocates call for a national strategy to address a huge social housing deficit, with a deficit of more than 600,000 affordable housing expected over the next two decades.
And government funding will need to reach $ 290 billion over that period if the shortage is to be remedied, heard a parliamentary committee investigating housing affordability.
Referring to an independent review by the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation, the CEO of the Community Housing Industry Association, Wendy Hayhurst, noted that 30,000 new affordable units would be needed each year over the next two decades, but that only 3000 units per year had been built over the past three years.
The NHFIC review found that an investment of $ 290 billion would be needed over the next 20 years to fill the gap, a figure that would not be reached even if funding were to increase tenfold.
Research from the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute referenced in the review suggested that an additional 727,300 social housing units would be needed by 2036, but Australia’s stock had only grown by 29,000 in the 13 years leading up to 2019. .
Hayhurst’s organization said a 10-year national housing strategy at all levels of government would be essential, but called on the federal government to use its “fiscal firepower to do much more”.
“Safe and affordable housing is a fundamental part of a well-functioning housing system – it is not just a safety net for the most disadvantaged,” she said.
“It offers people who cannot afford a home a safe and secure foreseeable future, allowing them not only to get by, but to get by.”
PowerHousing Australia President Nicola Lemon also spoke of the need to replenish the old social housing stock, with eight million homes “past their expiration date” contributing up to 18% of greenhouse gas emissions from Australia.
SGCH Managing Director Scott Langford noted that 43% of low-income households were under housing stress.
He said supply was both part of the challenge and part of the solution, with tenants of affordable housing having to pay less than market value.
He said “targeted supply” would prove essential to deal with the crisis, adding: “There is no evidence … simply adding a general supply would reduce rents enough to meet the need for affordable housing without further intervention. “
Liberal MP James Stevens, a committee member, agreed that it was vital to target an increase in supply specifically for those in need of affordable housing.
“The supply is the problem, but you can’t oversimplify it and say, ‘Just release another million blocks of earth.’ You have to do it in a nuanced way and make sure that the people who need it can access it, ”he said.
Associated Australian Press