Social Housing
Social Housing. Image – Canva.
  • Amid the property boom, adequate supply of social housing has become more of an issue
  • In some states, a two and a half year waiting list exists
  • Tasmania will hand over 2,000 homes for community housing sector to manage

‘Social housing’ refers to affordable housing provided by the government and community sectors to assist people who are unable to afford or access suitable accommodation in the private rental market.

It includes public housing, state-owned and managed Indigenous housing (SOMIH) and community housing. ‘Public housing’ is owned and managed by state and territory governments while ‘community housing’ is either owned or managed by not-for-profit community sector organisations.

Over the past five months, The Property Tribune has published more than 50 articles on the subject of ‘social housing‘.

Every State and Territory have a policy towards it. As the property boom has strengthened and continued, with record price rises, so more and more Australians are left out.

For every owner warming to a rise in property prices, there are people who cannot imagine how they can get onto the bottom rung of the property ladder.

Overview

Last month, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) published data that showed there were 436,333 properties in the total social housing stock, which was an increase from 408,812 (+7%), but that the stock was still inadequate.

In Western Australia, for example, there are over 14,000 people on the wait list for social housing of one kind or another, a wait that takes two and a half years on average. Around 4% of total homes in WA are classified as social housing, according to not for profit organisation ShelterWA.

In response, WA has provided $771 million in grants to go towards social housing maintenance while $80 million was spent in Ballarat (Victoria) to build 150 social houses.

Wider calls for social housing across various states has been welcomed, with national calls for increased social housing made by the federal opposition.

Currently, South Australia is the top state for social housing, with 5.9% of total residential housing in the state comprised of social housing.

Applying for assistance is a protracted process too, with Tasmanians waiting up to 54 weeks, albeit that figure is down from 63.7 weeks, and much quicker than in WA.

Tasmanian moves

Last Friday, Tasmania’s Minister for State Development, Construction and Housing Michael Ferguson announced new housing and support services through Centacare Evolve Housing (CEH), from 1 September this year.

Under the Community Housing Growth Program, CEH will expand their services into new areas and Housing Tasmania tenants will receive more information about this over the coming days.

The CHGP will transfer the management of a further 2,000 public housing tenancies to community housing providers under long-term management agreements until 2040.

Tenants will get more housing and support services without being out of pocket and the amount of income tenants pay in rent will not change, said the Minister. Lease terms will also not change under new tenancy management arrangements.

Contracts are currently being finalised with Community Housing Limited and Housing Choices Tasmania to expand their services in the north and north-west respectively and Mission Australia Housing to expand their services in southern Tasmania.

“This work complements our record investment of $615 million into social and affordable housing, and homelessness initiatives,” said Minister Ferguson, in a statement.

“[This includes] our record election commitment of $280 million to extend our building program of new social housing for Tasmanians in need, is the biggest in this State for decades.

“This means that we will build an extra 2,000 new homes by 2027, on top of the 1,500 already being built over the next three years, bringing the total to 3,500 new homes by 2027 to help our most vulnerable.”

Michael Ferguson
Minister for State Development, Construction and Housing

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