The soaring demand for affordable housing has far outpaced the available supply. Currently, there is a significant backlog of 5,000 households awaiting priority accommodation, underscoring the urgent need for additional housing solutions.
Housing affordability has become an escalating concern, with soaring property prices and limited affordable options. The cost of living, especially in terms of housing, has reached unprecedented levels, making the dream of homeownership unattainable for many.
From a planning perspective, addressing this challenge involves a multi-faceted approach that considers land use, policy, and community engagement. Affordable and social housing programs have emerged as crucial tools for tackling this crisis, with housing affordability becoming a central concern for policymakers and town planners.
Transforming Houses for Greater Accessibility
Providing housing goes beyond mere shelter. It’s the cornerstone of enabling individuals to lead healthier, more educated, and economically prosperous lives.
At NSW Land and Housing Corporation, their mission is to actively expand and manage the supply of suitable housing, precisely where and when it’s needed, to assist those in our communities who require it most. They oversee the most extensive housing portfolio in Australia, encompassing over 125,000 properties.
The NSW Government’s vision for social housing is set out in a strategy entitled, the Future Directions for Social Housing in NSW. This strategic plan aims to enhance the well-being of tenants by supporting those who can transition out of social housing successfully. It takes a comprehensive approach, addressing housing concerns across the entire spectrum, from homelessness to the private market.
The strategy places a strong emphasis on providing targeted assistance to help individuals avoid prolonged reliance on social housing, while recognising the critical role stable housing plays in the lives of those who cannot find alternatives.
Future Directions is grounded in three core strategic priorities:
- Expanding social housing: Increasing the availability of social housing units.
- Enhancing opportunities and support: Providing incentives and support to facilitate the transition out of social housing for those who can.
- Improving the social housing experience: Ensuring that tenants have a positive experience while residing in social housing.
These priorities are expected to yield several key outcomes, including a 5% increase in successful transitions out of social housing, and a 10% increase in the proportion of young people successfully moving from specialised homelessness services to stable, long-term accommodation.
To achieve these goals, the NSW Government is committed to collaborating with the private sector, the not-for-profit sector, and all levels of government. This collaborative effort aims to establish a sustainable and responsive social housing system that effectively addresses the diverse housing needs of the community.
The Land and Housing Corporation (LAHC) Portfolio Strategy
New South Wales, like many regions worldwide, faces complex housing challenges, including rising property prices, housing shortages, and homelessness. The NSW government recognised the urgent need for a coordinated and strategic approach to address these issues, which led to the development of the LAHC Portfolio Strategy 2020.
One of the central objectives of the Portfolio Strategy is to increase the supply of affordable housing in NSW. This involves the:
- Construction of new affordable housing units, and
- Acquisition and refurbishment of existing properties to make them affordable.
By boosting the availability of affordable housing, the strategy aims to provide housing security for low and moderate-income households, reducing the risk of homelessness and housing stress.
As housing is closely intertwined with broader community development efforts, the strategy also seeks to revitalise neighbourhoods by investing in infrastructure, public spaces, and community amenities. This approach enhances the liveability of communities and fosters a sense of belonging among residents. Under this strategy, areas that have faced economic and social challenges are targeted for rejuvenation, resulting in improved living conditions for residents.
NSW and Queensland to benefit from Labor's $2 billion Social Housing Fund
In response to the crisis, the Federal government recently announced a $2 billion social housing fund as part of its broader social policy agenda. The fund is intended to finance the construction and renovation of social and affordable housing units, thereby increasing the supply of housing options for low-income households.
Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, announced that every state and territory is guaranteed a minimum of $50 million in Commonwealth funding for social housing. Additionally, States with populations exceeding one million will receive additional funds proportionate to their population size. Based on these calculations, NSW secured $610 million for the construction and improvement of social housing, while Queensland received $398 million.
This targeted response is due to the acute housing challenges in these states, reflecting the pressing need to address housing affordability and homelessness in regions with the most pronounced issues. The impact of this allocation is expected to have far-reaching social benefits, ultimately improving the quality of life for residents and contributing to broader discussions about housing policy and government intervention in the housing market.
Need assistance with an upcoming development?
Barker Ryan Stewart has extensive experience providing town planning services for both publicly and privately funded affordable housing developments throughout NSW.
We have been involved in a range of affordable housing applications from secondary dwellings, boarding houses, residential flat buildings, group homes, caravan parks and manufactured home estates, to social housing projects including seniors housing. The NSW State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) (Housing) 2021 provided some additional opportunities for affordable housing including build to rent and co-living housing provisions.
We have assisted clients including Land and Housing Corporation, Aboriginal Housing Office, Marist 180, Pacific Link Housing and a number of other affordable housing providers and private developers with a range of affordable housing developments.
If you have any questions about how we can assist with your development, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.