The local campaign to get more social housing in Hepburn Shire is reflected nationally according to new data released by the Australian Institute for Health and Welfare.
The data suggests social housing is shrinking as a proportion of overall housing stock, leaving more people with priority status unhoused.
Safe Place Homes, Inc, a local community group is advocating for more social and affordable housing in the shire. It is working to address this dire situation on multiple fronts because the national statistics are equally matched – if not worse – here in our community.
The data has prompted fresh calls from Everybody’s Home for a Commonwealth commitment to build at least 25,000 new social housing dwellings per year.
According to the AIHW Housing assistance in Australia report, social housing declined as a proportion of overall housing stock from 4.6 per cent to 4.2 per cent between 2014 and 2021.
Over the same period, the number of “greatest need households on waiting list” increased more than one-third from 43,224 to 67,656.
Everybody’s Home national spokesperson, Kate Colvin, said the statistics were yet more evidence of a lopsided housing system that was failing people on low and modest incomes.
“People on modest incomes are being absolutely hammered in the Australian rental market with double digit rent increases. Yet at the same time securing a social or affordable or home is like finding a needle in a haystack.
“We increasingly hear stories of families with full time breadwinners living in tents. In a wealthy, advanced nation, this is just unconscionable. Housing providers are overwhelmed with demand.
“These statistics paint a damning picture of surging demand and dwindling supply of social and affordable housing. As rents and mortgages skyrocket, this will only get worse.
“The election of a new government presents an opportunity for a reset. After a lost decade, now is the time to start planning and building 25,000 new social and affordable homes.”
In Hepburn there have been a number of reports of people living in cars and sleeping rough in local facilities.
Locally, Safe Place Homes are following up on their Community Housing Forum to be held on Sunday the 26th of June to tackle the problem in a number of ways.
From pursuing the Council’s development of an affordable housing strategy to working with relevant groups on specific issues of homelessness, finding ways for businesses to attract staff by offering housing, and working to allow more very small homes and extra dwellings on house blocks.
Community members who may be interested in helping in this effort are welcome to contact Safe Place via firstname.lastname@example.org.