One in ten homes must become social housing to fix crisis

One in every ten Aussie homes must become social housing by the next decade for the nation to finally overcome the housing crisis.

Paul Eyers
By Paul Eyers
5 Min Read

One in every ten Aussie homes must become social housing by the next decade for the nation to finally overcome the housing crisis, a homelessness campaign group has declared.

Across Australia, home prices and rents are skyrocketing, pushing more people into housing stress as they struggle to keep up with the rising cost of living.
Coupled with a shrinking proportion of social housing, more Aussie families have been pushed out of either the home ownership or rental market.

This gradual slimming of Australia’s social housing supply has led to 69,000 fewer social housing properties than a decade ago.

A coalition of housing, homelessness and welfare groups, Everybody’s Home, is now calling on the Federal Government to introduce a 10 per cent social housing target to help fight back against the trend.

Everybody’s Home spokesperson Maiy Azize says Australia will need to more than double the amount of current social housing in the next ten years to help end the crisis.

“The proportion of social housing in Australia has been falling off a cliff for years, all while rents, housing stress and homelessness have shot up,” Ms Azize said.

“Renting has never been less affordable. The number of available rentals has hit an all-time low. Housing stress has become the fastest-growing cause of homelessness.”

The Australian Government has already drawn up plans to produce an additional 30,000 social housing homes within the next five years as part of the recently passed Housing Supply Bill’s Housing Australia Future Fund (HAFF).

However, housing experts have warned this falls far short of significantly impacting Australia’s housing problem.

RMIT University academic Liam Davies said those homes would simply be a form of “damage limitation” rather than making a meaningful impact to address the crisis.

“The HAFF is a $10 billion fund which will spend its interest earnings on social housing. It is like a term deposit for social housing, where the money will not actually be spent, just the investment earnings,” he said.

This means that despite the fund promising 6,000 new social housing dwellings per year, Aussies would be left with a net loss of 9,000 social housing dwellings per year compared to 2013.

“To get social housing stock back to 2011 levels, we need around 124,000 social housing dwellings over the next five years…this is over four times what the HAFF is promising,” he said.

“The HAFF will not get us close to where we need to be. At best, the HAFF will slow the decline of social housing in Australia.”

The Everybody’s Home campaign now has 40,000 supporters calling on Australian governments to bring balance back to the housing system, so that everybody has a place to call home.

The group have recently made a submission to the government’s National Housing and Homelessness Plan, calling for one in ten homes to become social housing by 2034.

Ms Azize warned that without the changes, Australia’s private housing development would not be up to pace to provide anywhere close to the number of affordable homes needed.

“The federal government’s National Housing and Homelessness Plan must have a goal to end homelessness for good. To end homelessness, Australia needs one in ten homes to be social housing – homes that remain affordable for the people who need them most, when and where they need them, Ms Azize said.

“The private market simply won’t deliver the affordable homes that the nation requires. We need one million public and community homes over the next 20 years to meet soaring demand.”

Everybody’s Home says any additional social housing must be part of a larger national plan to tackle other homelessness-causing catalysts.

“The federal government has the power to end homelessness in Australia. Our federal leaders must deliver an ambitious national plan and back it with the required commitment and resources,” Ms Azize said.

“More social housing is key, but the plan must also address the drivers of homelessness, set national minimum rental standards, reform Commonwealth Rent Assistance, and outline mechanisms to reduce speculative investment and house price inflation.”

To join the campaign, please visit the Everybody’s Home website.

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Paul Eyers has worked as a journalist for a range of media publishers including News Corp and Network Ten. He has also worked outside of Australia, including time spent with ABS-CBN in the Philippines. Stepping away from the media, Paul spent five years sharpening his tools in construction - building his skill set and expertise within the trade industry. His diverse experiences and unique journey have equipped him with an insider view of Australia’s construction game to dig deep into the big stories.