Urgent investment needed to address the shortfall of 38,000 social houses in WA – finding of a new AHURI report

A new report from the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) shows that Australia will need to triple its social housing stock over the next 20 years to meet demand. It shows the way forward to fix our broken housing system to ensure every Australian has a place to call home.

Shelter WA welcomes this AHURI report that shows Australia will need 727,000 new social housing properties over 20 years to fill the current shortage and meet growing demand from low income earners. It provides a suite of policy solutions to increase supply.

“We have a social housing crisis in WA,” said Shelter WA CEO, Ms Michelle Mackenzie. “With over 14,000 households on the public housing waitlist, including 1,300 households on the priority wait list, and private rentals out of reach for many people, the social and economic costs to individuals and our community of people not having a place to call home is high.”

The report shows how governments across the country have dropped the ball on social housing since 1996. “This shortage has serious consequences for people’s health, wellbeing and educational and employment opportunities, leaving more households in housing stress or homelessness. It is unbelievable that in 2018 we have people in our society without a home. As a society we can do better,” said Ms Mackenzie.

Investment in social and affordable housing must become a priority for all spheres of government. “We need to shift our thinking from housing being an optional extra to being critical, social and economic infrastructure that contributes to the economy and supports people to have good lives. A national affordable housing strategy that coordinates levers across and within government, in partnership with industry and the community sector, is needed to deliver the housing that we need now and into the future,” said Ms Mackenzie.

Shelter WA welcomes the passing of the GST legislation this week in Federal Parliament and urges the State Government to consider long term, sustained investment in social housing to support economic growth and contribute to budget repair. “Investment in social and affordable housing will create jobs, deliver better community outcomes and in the long run reap savings for our State,” said Ms Mackenzie.

“How would you live without a home? Delivering the social housing that our community needs will take coordination, commitment and sustained investment from governments in partnership with industry and the community sector. We urge government to take head of the findings of this report and to act now.”

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Media Contact – Michelle Mackenzie, CEO of Shelter WA, 0419 931 819.