The New South Wales government has committed an extra $7.8 million to keep families in social housing as rents soar in regional areas.
- Rental prices have risen by 10.7 percent in regional Australia in the past year, CoreLogic says
- Providers say the funding boost will help them keep social housing properties available
- Deputy Premier Paul O’Toole says the next few months “are going to be difficult”
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.
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.
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.