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…

Report backs level of unmet need

A new report commissioned by the Family Violence Housing Assistance Implementation Taskforce has found an additional 1,700 social housing homes are needed each year, for the next 20 years, to maintain social housing at its current 3.5 per cent share of the total homes in Victoria.

‘Double this amount of social housing homes is needed over the next 20 years if lower income households, currently facing housing stress in the private rental market, are to have affordable housing,’ the report states.

The report Victoria’s social housing supply requirements to 2036, was researched by Dr Judy Yates, an Honorary Associate in the School of Economics at the University of Sydney.

A key aim of the research was to quantify the number of additional social housing units needed to house victims of family violence who are currently unable to gain access to and sustain private rental accommodation.

CHFV EO Lesley Dredge welcomed the report, which mirrors research commissioned by CHFV that found 1,800 new homes are needed each year.

‘It’s further proof of the scale of this issue and the need for action,’ Ms Dredge says.

Click here to view the report.