Few social housing tenants are lonely

Older social housing tenants are far less lonely than those in private rental, according to an article published in The Conversation.

The article, by Research Professor, University of Technology Sydney Alan Morris and Research Associate, University of Technology Sydney, Andrea Verasco states many older private renters have little disposal income, because the cost of housing uses up much of their income. They also live with the constant possibility that they may be asked to vacate their accommodation. Their limited budgets mean they often end up living in a poorly located property. These features, individually or in combination, create fertile ground for anxiety and loneliness.

Their dire financial situation was often an obstacle to social activities. One interviewee told of how she had to choose between food or breaking her isolation by using public transport.

‘In sharp contrast, only a small proportion of the social housing tenants interviewed said they were lonely. Almost all were adamant they did not experience loneliness and felt they had strong social ties. Their affordable rent, security of tenure, long-term residence and having neighbours in a similar position meant they could socialise and were not beset by anxiety.’

Read the full article here.

 

Housing as infrastructure

Is social housing infrastructure?

Current research undertaken by AHURI on considering social housing as infrastructure is validating many of the points the community housing sector has been putting forward for years.

Social housing is not just a ‘nice to have’ or a housing option that should be targeted to the most vulnerable people in society. It has a measurable impact on productivity; it contributes to more equitable communities, and is the foundation upon which people who have been struggling to get by can begin to rebuild their lives.

However, subsidised housing requires a subsidy, and the sticking point for the past several decades is where this subsidy is going to come from. Capital grant programs have come and gone, with minimal growth in social housing supply in Victoria since the nation building stimulus package of 2009-10.

Governments have largely stepped away from building new social housing, with the community housing sector growing to become a significant social landlord in its own right.

Lately, the Victorian government has been exploring new ways to attract private investment, and encourage the planning system to deliver affordable housing where there otherwise might have been none. Though this is moving in the right direction, these efforts are still falling far short of the 3,000 social housing properties that Victoria needs to build every year just to meet the demands of the current wait list for social housing.

So what can we do, and how does reimagining social housing as infrastructure help?

AHURI’s research points to international examples of how social housing systems can achieve a variety of social and economic outcomes beyond just housing low-income households. A thriving social housing system can be used to drive a wide range of policy aims, from improving land use to driving innovation in construction methods.

But, whilst the arguments for treating social housing as a form of infrastructure are reasoned, we need to convince the general public and, through them, politicians and other decision makers that this is an issue that Australia can’t afford to ignore.

CHIA Vic is currently developing a tenant-focused outcomes framework that will enable the sector to identify and measure its social impact. This will enable us to frame the ‘social housing as infrastructure’ business case in a way that demonstrates the value of social housing, and its essential role in assisting tenants to live with dignity and participate in the economy.

 

Why do tenants stay or leave?

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Privacy law download

Free guide to Privacy Law

Legal firm, and CHIA Vic sponsor, Moores’ has developed a free Privacy Guide for Australian Organisations.

Written by Moores’ privacy law expert Cecelia Irvine-So, the guide provides a great overview of your organisation’s obligations under the Australian Privacy Act, including:

• a summary of Privacy Law
• how to be compliant
• responding to a data breach
• when you are legally obligated to notify of a breach
• state based legislation and schemes
• five-step guide to becoming compliant

Click here for details and to download the eBook, listen to Moore’s latest privacy webinar, read recent articles and subscribe to future updates.

 

AirBnB impact on Melbourne ‘minimal’

Contradicting accepted wisdom, an SGS Economics and Planning report has found Airbnb has had little impact on Melbourne’s housing market.

The report, which used official Airbnb data, found the number of AirBnB listings in Melbourne in 2017 was equivalent to only 0.5 per cent of all dwellings in Melbourne.

Report co-author Terry Rawnsley, Principal and Partner at SGS Economics and Planning, said the hosting rate of Airbnb listings averaged less than 50 per cent of the time they were available.

In Melbourne, the median number of nights hosted per year has increased from 42 nights to 66 nights per year. Of the listings that have hosted guests, over 35 per cent of listings host guests for up to 30 nights per year. Approximately 27 per cent of listings host guests for more than 180 nights per year.

Mr Rawnsley says, broadly speaking, it is not financially beneficial to host a property on Airbnb instead of renting to a long-term tenant, unless the property is in the City of Melbourne, where the hosting rate averages 70 per cent.

‘In only a small number of cases, it is more profitable to list a property on Airbnb full time rather than on the rental market.’

Download the report

AHURI report backs call for housing as infrastructure

Roads, rail, hospitals, schools are all defined as ‘essential infrastructure’; vital for the function of society. In the lead up to the state election, uncosted infrastructure projects were thrown on the table with gay abandon.

Politicians in hi-vis made dramatic claims about the benefits of multi-billion projects that will be decades in the making. Roads, rail, hospitals…defining something as ‘essential infrastructure’ is like sprinkling it with magic fairy dust – it’s ‘essential’ so they promise it now, and find the money later.

But what can be more essential and beneficial to a society than housing? If you don’t have a safe, appropriate place to call home, how can you hold down a job, go to school, contribute to your community?

Leading planning and economics firm SGS Economics & Planning agrees, with its research finding that reinstating social housing as essential infrastructure is needed ‘for a prosperous and inclusive Australia’. SGS has estimated every $1 outlaid by governments in social housing would generate a $3 social, environmental and economic return.

And AHURI has released a new report backing the call for housing to be considered essential infrastructure, and modelling five alternative pathways to funding social housing.

More than over 60,000 households in our state are in limbo, waiting for social housing. This includes 22,000 with urgent housing needs – women and families escaping family violence, homeless and elderly Victorians.

Whilst an additional 3,000 social housing properties annually for 10 years won’t fix this housing crisis, it is the minimum required to meet the housing needs of Victorians eligible for priority housing.

We know a building program of this scale is achievable, community housing organisations built 2,500 homes with Nation Building funds almost a decade ago – which was the last time Victoria implemented a significant social housing supply program.

As an added benefit, that social housing program created thousands of construction jobs and reduced the costs to our health service, justice system and emergency services that are a side effect of the housing crisis.

It’s time to acknowledge social housing is essential infrastructure and treat it a ‘must’ rather than a ‘nice to have’. And bring on that fairy dust.

Click here to download the AHURI report.

Stress rising for social housing tenants

Renters are particularly prone to financial and housing stress, according to the latest latest Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey.

The report found housing stress had increased for renters over the survey period from 2001 to 2016. And social housing tenants were particularly hard hit.

People are defined as being in housing stress when their housing costs are more than 30 per cent of their income, and the household is in the bottom 40 per cent of income distribution.

Read more… 

Shining a light on rough sleeping

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has released its findings into the most visible tip of the housing crisis iceberg – rough sleepers.

The AIHW report looked at service patterns by rough sleepers over four years, finding that the majority were 2 in 3 were male (65%), aged over 35, and 19 per cent were Aboriginal.

Researchers identified five typical pathways into adult homelessness: housing crisis; family breakdown; substance abuse; mental health; and, transitioning from being homeless in youth (‘youth to adult’).

Download the report.

Pathways to housing tax reform

A new AHURI report released today puts forward an evidence-based strategy to overcome the political deadlock afflicting housing tax reform in Australia.

The final report from the AHURI Inquiry, ‘Pathways to housing tax reform‘, features innovative economic modelling and implementation timeframes to steer tax settings that progress the efficiency, equity and sustainability of housing tax policy, and also presents viable political pathways to achieving these outcomes.

-courtesy of AHURI

Community housing houses those in greatest need: AIHW

The number of households in community housing doubled in the decade to 2016–17, a new report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has found.

The AIHW report, Housing assistance in Australia 2018, found that, whilst public housing provides 80 per cent of social housing, the number of households in community housing has grown by 117 per cent since 2007–08.

The report also found that more than four in five (86 per cent) of community housing dwellings were tenanted by those in greatest need.

Read more…