The Victorian government’s recently released housing strategy allows for the transfer of the state’s public housing stock to the community housing sector. In a recent Conversation article, Kate Shaw raises an important question – “Why should the state wriggle out of public housing?” – and condemns the transfer of public housing to private developers for redevelopment.
However, if one is really interested in providing more housing for people on low to moderate incomes, the community sector is the way to go – not public housing.
Criticism of community housing provision – in part because of its role in the UK’s liberal market reforms to public housing – neglects the reality. Community housing has underpinned the growth and viability of what many would see as some of the fairest and best-performing social housing systems in the world — those of Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands.
Management and/or ownership of land (including state land) by not-for-profit community groups ensures affordability in perpetuity. It is not lost to the private sector. And it can provide the same security as public housing, but with more innovative management practices, such as co-operatives and housing trusts.
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