What does it take to make social housing work?

Affordable housing is a key ingredient in both ending homelessness for individuals and preventing it in the first place. Yet as we’ve seen in previous posts, the shortage of affordable housing in Victoria is dire, with just 8 in 100 properties rental properties in Melbourne affordable to people reliant on Centrelink incomes. And it’s far worse for single people receiving Newstart Allowance where just people 1 in 200 rental properties are affordable.

Social housing (that is public and community housing) plays a central role in housing those people that the private rental market fails. Unfortunately for people in the most desperate need, often experiencing homelessness, the average waiting time for public housing is 10 months. Alarmingly there are over 34,000 people waiting for public housing, but only around 4000 properties are allocated every year. At this rate it would take eight and a half years to house everyone currently on the list, even if no new households were added.

Despite this staggering demand, and the pressure that housing costs put on households, this year’s state budget has forecast that the total number of social housing properties will fall by 200 dwellings. This is because as old housing stock, built in the 50s and 60s ages and can no longer be maintained, we’re not adding enough new properties to make up for the loss of old ones.

The Victorian Auditor General said without urgent action 10,000 social housing properties would become unusable. The Victorian Government’s social housing strategy has secured these properties but has no plan for growth in the future.

Social housing needs an overhaul, to make sure we can provide affordable homes for all Victorians. CHP has worked with six other peak bodies to come up with a plan to grow social housing in the next two decades. Join us for a joint forum to hear more about the plan and find solutions for the future of social housing work. You can register here140923 MSHW FINAL