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Peak housing and social services bodies are urging the NSW Government to roll out a social and affordable housing boom across the state to support vulnerable people and stimulate the economy in response to COVID-19.
The push comes as research from the NSW Council of Social Service (NCOSS) shows housing to be the devouring monster of family budgets for low and middle-income earners.
The coalition of peak bodies is calling on the state government to establish a Social and Affordable Housing Capital Fund to grow the supply of social housing by 5,000 premises per annum, and similar for affordable housing.
Research from NCOSS shows more than one-third (38%) of low- and middle-income households reported paying over a third of their income on housing costs, and almost one fifth (19%) reported being unable to make mortgage or rent payments on time.
Concerningly, this research was conducted prior to the devastating impact of COVID-19 was felt by the community.
As well as this, the NSW Tenants Union’s COVID-19 factsheet has received half-a-million hits in just over two weeks.
NCOSS CEO Joanna Quilty said investing in a social and affordable housing boom will support vulnerable people and stimulate the broader economy.
“We are urging the NSW Government to massively boost the supply of social and affordable housing, which will support the most vulnerable and boost jobs in the construction industry,” Ms Quilty said.
Community Housing Industry Association NSW CEO Mark Degotardi said: “Today’s NCOSS report shows the housing crisis was well and truly here before COVID-19.
“The pandemic has wreaked havoc across communities and the economy and now tens of thousands of people who were already struggling are even worse off.
” There is a shortfall of more than 200,000 social and affordable homes in NSW right now, with almost 60,000 households waiting for social housing. With demand set to rise for years as our economy recovers, business as usual is not an option. The housing crisis is here, and a crisis response is required,” he said.
Homelessness NSW CEO Katherine McKernan said: “NSW was already experiencing a housing and homelessness crisis before the pandemic with more people being turned away from homelessness services than being supported.
“The investment made available by the NSW Government to provide hotel accommodation during the pandemic shows that we can act to end homelessness.
“In the short term we need resource to support people to access the private rental market but we know that the best solution during an economic downturn is investment in social housing – it reduces homelessness and provides much needed construction employment,” she said.
To access NCOSS’ latest research, visit here.
For more information about NCOSS, visit: www.ncoss.org.au
Nick Trainor 0407 078 138 (NCOSS)
May 21, 2021
Homelessness NSW was pleased to launch this joint report with PIAC that focuses on the lived experience of people sleeping rough and the impact that police interaction can have on wellbeing and ensuring access to housing and support services.