NSW announces funding boost for social housing as rental crisis continues

The New South Wales government has committed an extra $7.8 million to keep families in social housing as rents soar in regional areas.

The Community Housing Rent Program assists providers to supply subsidized rental accommodation to people on low incomes.

The scheme has an annual budget of $86m a year and supports 680 properties across the state, including 500 in regional areas.

Families and Communities Minister Natasha Maclaren-Jones said the funding boost would keep all 680 properties in the scheme.

“We know with the pandemic, also with floods and droughts, people are finding it tough and the cost of living pressures are mounting,” she said.

Housing Plus says the funding will enable them to keep properties open for social housing. (ABC Central West: Arianna Levy)

Need ‘growing by the day’

CoreLogic’s quarterly review found that the median rental price for regional houses was $494 — a 10.7 percent increase compared to this time last year.

Deputy Premier Paul Toole said the funding was vital for supporting low income earners.

“We know that the next few months are going to be difficult,” he said.

“This support today is about making sure those people who are seen in some cases as being the most disadvantaged are not forgotten.”

Housing Plus chief executive David Fisher said the funding boost would allow the provider to maintain the 164 properties it had in the scheme despite rising rents.

He said the program was crucial.

“The need for housing in regional areas is enormous and it’s growing by the day,” Mr. Fisher said.

A row of new houses under construction, seen from above.
The NSW Community Housing Industry Association says there are additional steps the government could take to boost social housing stock.(ABC News: John Gunn)

Decision welcomed by advocates

The announcement has been welcomed by Caitlin McDowell from the NSW Community Housing Industry Association.

“It ensures that rising rents keep pace with the cost of delivering the program, so in that regard it is something that is really welcomed by our industry,” she said.

Ms McDowell said by purchasing housing developments nearing completion or already available, the state government could make affordable housing more readily available.

“Funding could potentially be allocated to community housing providers and they would be able to purchase that development and ensure that it is social and affordable housing,” she said.

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