Not for profit community housing provider, Compass Housing, has contributed to a Budget Position Paper released by the national campaign to end homelessness, Everybody’s Home, which calls for funding of at least 25,000 in new social housing dwellings in this year’s Federal budget.
Compass’ strategic engagement officer, Professor David Adamson, co-authored the paper. Professor Adamson said Australia’s chronic underinvestment in social and affordable housing is worsening the housing affordability crisis and aggravating the cost to other areas of the Budget.
He said the paper includes previously unreleased modelling which shows underinvestment in social housing is causing foregone public sector cost offsets and foregone private sector benefits of $676.5 million per annum currently, rising to $1.286 billion per annum in 2036. These take the form of added costs addressing homelessness, mental health, domestic violence, alcohol/substance abuse, but also reduced household spending and lower community wellbeing.
The paper notes that constructing 25,000 social homes per year would generate an annual economic output of $12.9 billion, and create 15,700 jobs. It makes the case for expanded social and affordable housing, to give people on low and modest incomes greater housing choice.
Professor Adamson said rising rents means more and more people are being pushed into social housing waiting lists and homelessness.
“In the 12 months to January 2022, the asking rent on a three – bedroom home increased by 13.5 per cent. The purchase price on the same property exploded by 20.2 per cent,“ Professor Adamson said.
“The effect on the rental market is also pronounced in regional areas, where rents surged 12.1 per cent in the year to December 2021. By comparison, wage growth sat at 2.2 per cent,” he said.
“There has been a steep decline in federal funding for social and Indigenous housing which in 2013-14 was over $2 billion, but is only budgeted at $1.6 billion in 2023-24. Indexed for inflation it should be $2.7 billion. In 1994, social housing made up six per cent of all housing. Today it is just four per cent.”
National spokesperson for Everybody’s Home Kate Colvin
Australia’s common prosperity is best served by a housing system that gives people on low and modest incomes genuine choice and provides them with security and stability.
Kate Colvin, national spokesperson for Everybody’s Home said an investment in social housing was urgent and worthwhile.
Ms Colvin said a secure home is the foundation for stability and security that enables people to look after their health, family, join the workforce and contribute to society.
“As our leaders put the final touches on the Budget, they need to be aware of the full benefit of social housing as well as the deep human cost of not providing people with a home,” Ms Colvin said.
“The surging rental and property markets are swallowing up ever larger chunks of household budgets. Some regions of Australia, including the NSW and Queensland coasts have seen rents surge more than 20 per cent. This is not just breaking family budgets, it’s pushing families into homelessness,” she said.
“Australia’s common prosperity is best served by a housing system that gives people on low and modest incomes genuine choice and provides them with security and stability. The increasingly brutal financial contest for housing is simply indecent. We can do better.”