Post Covid social and affordable housing recovery
Our post Covid economic recovery should include large scale investment in social and affordable housing. NSW can fast track building infrastructure that will provide a buffer to the most disadvantaged in the post Covid economic and social downturn by building and renovating homes that people can afford.
A state led affordable housing boost will support the construction industry by building urgently needed social and affordable housing, not fast-tracking private developer projects with no positive community outcomes.
Social and affordable housing should be funded as urgent infrastructure with government investment providing a safeguard against increasing social disadvantage.
We believe that the following initiatives will ensure that housing is affordable, sustainable and available to those who need it and are most impacted by the economic downturn facing us all.
- Large scale investment in building social and affordable housing including 30,000 social homes per year for 10 years
- 100% social and affordable housing on public land - reject Communities Plus housing formula and audit all available state land and properties
- No sell off of public land or public housing
- Councils to be funded to fast track Local Housing Strategies and Affordable Housing Policies to prioritise and maximise affordable housing
- Mandate 30% affordable housing on private housing developments
- End no grounds evictions and provide post Covid rent relief funding and continued moratorium on evictions with no arrears debt.
- Housing First approach to homelessness with no limit on temporary accommodation and increase in funding for specialist services and support.
- Zero emissions housing and retrofitting of existing housing
- Reform private student accommodation and build-to-rent planning instruments
NSW has a large social and affordable housing deficit with a 10 year waiting list for social housing.
The recent Equity Economics report commissioned by NCOSS, “A Wave of Disadvantage across NSW: Impact of the Covid-19 Recession” offers some extremely concerning statistics including a 24% increase in families experiencing housing stress and the same increase statewide in individuals experiencing homelessness with some regions in the state experiencing a 40% increase.
The Anglicare Rental Affordability Update from August this year indicated that ‘renters are on the frontline of the Coronavirus pandemic.’ The findings show that a person who is unemployed can only afford 1% percent of rentals – and that’s with the increased Job Seeker payments. With Job Seeker reduced, affordable rental availability will plummet with only 13 rental listings out of 77,000 being affordable.
Everybody’s Home is calling for 500,000 social and affordable homes nationally by 2026 and 5,000 social homes per year for 10 years in NSW.
Older women at increased risk of homelessness
Jenny Leong MP made a Private Members' Statement in Parliament to draw attention to the increased risk or poverty and homelessness that older women are currently facing. She called on the Government to act to address this growing crisis, as older women's homelessness is often invisible or overlooked.Read more
Jenny Leong MP on Homelessness Week
Greens Member for Newtown, Jenny Leong has called for a drastic investment in public, social and affordable housing to address the homelessness crisis is NSW.Read more
Greens NSW Response to ‘A Housing Strategy for NSW’ Discussion Paper May 2020
The NSW government released a discussion paper in May 2020 on a Housing Strategy for NSW. Jenny Leong MP, NSW Greens spokesperson on Housing and Jamie Parker MP, NSW Greens spokesperson on Planning made a submission on behalf of the NSW Greens. The following is an extract from this submission.
As a matter of protocol and a mark of respect, we acknowledge it always was and always will be Aboriginal land and pay our respects to Aboriginal elders past, present and emerging.
We also submit that ‘A Housing Strategy for NSW’ must prioritise ensuring Aboriginal housing needs are met along the housing continuum. This means resourcing Aboriginal-led homelessness services, supporting Aboriginal-led community housing providers, pro-actively involving Aboriginal-led organisations in the development and implementation of this strategy and recognising through reparation that the land that is the focus of this strategy is stolen land that was never ceded.
- Incorporate plans for genuine consultation and input from Aboriginal-led organisations both in the development and implementation of the NSW Housing Strategy
- Recognise the need for reparations given that the land all of this housing will be delivered on is stolen land
- Ensure adequate resourcing and support for Aboriginal-led homelessness and housing services as well as community housing providers
- Identify housing as a key component of the State’s infrastructure priorities
- Establish an integrated Housing portfolio in NSW with a single Minister who has responsibility across private, public, community and rental housing areas, combined with the establishment of a Housing Ombudsman
- Incorporate specific actions to progress protections for renters and advance rental reforms which enable security of tenure, affordability and habitability for renters in to the NSW Housing Strategy
- Commit to large scale government development and provision of public, social and affordable housing as housing options for a range of tenants with varying incomes
- Mandate 30% affordable housing in new private rental housing developments
- Commit to ending homelessness and ensure there are no exits to homelessness from state institutions or as a result of family violence or economic disadvantage
- Recognise the climate crisis as a key driver for strong action in the housing strategy and include actions to progress zero emissions sustainable housing and large scale retrofitting of existing homes.
Assistance needed for non-citizens during COVID-19
[UPDATE 19 May 2020]
The Sydney Alliance are calling on the NSW Government to provide urgent financial support for those people in NSW not covered by JobKeeper and JobSeeker. I responded to their letter on behalf of the NSW Greens as the Greens Spokesperson for Multiculturalism and you can find our response here.
[UPDATE 15 April 2020]
We are pleased to support the #unityoverfear campaign - please take a minute to do the same. The anti-chinese and anti-asian narratives and actions are causing many people, including myself, real harm at this time. Racism is NEVER okay.
[UPDATE 31 MARCH, 2020]
Today I wrote to the NSW Premier on behalf of a large cohort of people who live in the electorate of Newtown, our city and NSW, who are currently facing extremely difficult circumstances and have become very vulnerable as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
You can download the full letter here.
Our office has been contacted by a significant number of non-citizens who do not have any resources to support themselves and are not able to access the measures put in place for citizens or those offered yesterday by the federal government to category 444 visa holders.
As the NSW Greens Multicultural spokesperson, I feel very strongly that to ensure a cohesive society where everyone is treated equally and is able to live free from discrimination and racism, we need to ensure that wherever possible all people are able to access basic needs, services and supports without regard to their citizenship status. This is particularly important during times of crisis, and even more so during this current pandemic.Read more
Call to Premier for Moratorium on Evictions and other urgent Housing and Homelessness measures
Today I called on the Premier and Minister Gareth Ward MP (Families, Communities and Disability), Melinda Pavey MP (Water, Property and Housing) and Kevin Anderson MP (Better Regulation and Innovation) to take urgent steps to ensure that people in NSW have a safe, secure, affordable and habitable place to live - from renters to public and social housing tenants and those who are homeless. At the top of the list was our call for a Moratorium on any evictions of rental tenants during this period.
Read or download the full letter here.
Newtopian Outreachers – Thank You & Community Celebration
Congratulations to all the incredible volunteers at the Newtown Neighbourhood Centre who were honored last week at the Newtopian Outreachers – Thank You & Community Celebration.
Liberals Shameful Blame Shifting on Public Housing
Greens NSW Housing spokesperson Jenny Leong MP has called the Residential Tenancies Act (Social Housing) Bill introduced by NSW Social Housing Minister Goward today as nothing short of blame shifting.
“This bill is nothing more than an attempt by the Minister to shift the responsibility for the decade long waiting lists and maintenance failures on to the tenants of public and social housing – when really it is her and the Liberals that are failing people.Read more
Greens: Hey Premier, If Homelessness is a Real Priority You Actually Need to Invest in Housing
NSW Greens Housing spokesperson and Member for Newtown, Jenny Leong MP has called out the failure of the NSW Liberal budget to address systemic housing issues while talking up a $3.9 billion surplus.
“It is meaningless for the Premier to identify homelessness as one of her priorities if she is not willing to invest to actually address the housing crisis in our state, especially when the budget surplus this year is $3.9 billion.”
Massive increase in homelessness
Today’s release of the statistics on Homelessness from the ABS 2016 census data, shows that homelessness and other consequences of the lack of housing affordability are rising unacceptably in NSW, according to NSW Greens spokesperson on Housing and Homelessness and Member for Newtown, Jenny Leong MP.