Social Housing Agenda
The urgent need to increase social housing has dominated discussions during day two of the biennial AHURI National Housing Conference in Darwin.
At the “State(s) of housing policy—a national debate” plenary session, a panel of government representatives from all states and territories, and the Commonwealth shared initiatives that occurring within their jurisdictions. Most outlined their focus on growing the community housing sector through stock transfers or other initiatives such as access to land or low cost loans, outlining the benefits not just for tenants but as a strategy to increase social housing supply.
State(s) of housing policy—a national debate” plenary session. Picture Credit: @AHURI_Research/Twitter.
This was supported by the Commonwealth, who stated any increase to Commonwealth Rent Assistance through transfers would be offset through the good outcome achieved by community housing providers increasing the pool of social housing. The focus of a number of jurisdictions of growing Indigenous Community Housing Organisations was also noted.
A robust discussion was held on targets for social housing as a percentage of housing stock. Most jurisdictions don’t have targets, but the WA delegate outlined that the WA Government wants to maintain the current status of social housing as a minimum of 4 per cent of housing stock. This will require around 1,000 new properties a year.
The merits of inclusionary zoning to facilitate more social housing supply was debated.
An interesting discussion on State housing debt ensured as a response to a question from National Shelter. Currently most jurisdictions are paying off housing loans to the Commonwealth, and the merit of converting this debt into funding for new supply was mooted.
“We need to grow the pool of social housing,” said Michelle Mackenzie the Chief Executive Officer of Shelter WA "and to accelerate the supply of social housing.
Assistant Minister for Community Housing, Homelessness and Community Services, Luke Howarth MP addresses the conference. Picture Credit: @AHURI_Research/Twitter.
"Not only is it a good outcome for the people who are housed but it is great for the economy. It was apparent from discussions today that WA is way behind the other jurisdictions in harnessing the strengths of the community housing sector."
In a speech to the conference the Assistant Minister for Community Housing, Homelessness and Community Services, Luke Howarth MP said he is getting the message “loud and clear” on the need for more investment in social and affordable housing.
For more information on the National Housing Conference and the presentations please visit the AHURI website.
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