Labor dismisses Tasmanian Government’s low-income housing scheme as ‘a failure’

The Tasmanian Government has refused to say how many people have been housed under an incentive scheme for landlords to accommodate low-income tenants, despite the scheme starting almost two months ago.

A housing crisis partly caused by a boom in short-term rentals and higher property prices that spread statewide began to be obvious in March, when homeless people began camping at the Hobart showgrounds.

The State Government responded in part by announcing the scheme to subsidise rent, which Labor is claiming has not housed anyone.

Under the scheme, a $10,000 annual government subsidy would be provided for homes in the north and north-west, and $13,000 for homes in the south, to landlords who enter a 12-month lease with low-income tenants.

The Government would also guarantee rent for 12 months.

Housing Minister Roger Jaensch said 28 properties had so far been identified as suitable, with 350 property owners registering interest in the scheme.

When announcing the pilot program in April, Mr Jaensch said he expected it to include 110 properties.

When asked how many people had been housed under the pilot program, Mr Jaensch said community housing providers would contact applicants from the housing register who wished to take part in the scheme, which would “roll out progressively”.

On Friday, the Government was asked to provide a regional breakdown of where the 28 properties were located, but none was provided.

The ABC asked a second time how many people had been housed under the scheme, but did not receive a response.

On Saturday, the Government provided a statement saying the first tenants were expected to be housed “within the next few weeks”.

Tenants Union calls for ‘urgent regulation’

The Tenants’ Union of Tasmania’s Ben Bartl said he was very concerned that so few properties had become available, particularly considering it was the middle of winter and Hobart was experiencing an acute housing crisis.

“With more than 3,500 people in urgent need of housing and the average waiting time for social housing increasing to more than a year, the Government must do more to provide housing to everyone,” he said.

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Source: ABC News