At the moment, many low-income NSW residents struggle to find secure, affordable housing. In 2007, 10.9% of NSW families were in ‘housing stress’, paying more than 30% of their income on housing costs. Without extra support, these households will be left in poverty after paying for their housing. A range of programs help these households, including rent assistance paid by the Commonwealth Government through the social security system, and social housing managed by the NSW Government or non-profit community housing organisations.
As house prices and rents have increased faster than incomes, more and more people have fallen into this category. Government programs are struggling to keep up. There were over 60,000 households waiting for public housing in June 2010, but only 6,000 new allocations were made in the 12 months to June 2010. As a result, a large number of households are left in poverty, inadequate housing or homelessness – over 27,000 people were homeless in NSW on the night of the 2006 census. A key part of Shelter’s role is to lobby for better levels of funding for these kinds of programs. We do this by:
- monitoring levels of spending and demand for programs both nationally and in NSW
- raising public awareness of changes to funding levels over time
- working with other organisations to do specific research on issues like government fiscal policy, tax and charging regimes, and ways to stretch government dollars further through using private finance
- writing submissions and making representations to government on these issues.
Our recent work on housing supply includes:
- an update on the NSW state Budget 2012–13 (2 August 2012)
- an update on the Commonwealth Budget 2012–13 (May 2012)
- a submission on outsourcing community services delivery (27 April 2012).