Social housing more important than ever

It’s hard enough for the average income earner to afford a home, particularly in Melbourne and Sydney, but for very low income earners, the situation is critical.

There are around 200,000 people on waiting lists for social housing and if we want to accommodate everyone, then the amount of social housing would have to increase by 50%.

The problem is, the amount of social housing is actually declining.

People on very low incomes cannot afford to rent at market rates. The easiest and simplest solution is for the government to build the housing themselves, but this is also the most expensive option.

The federal government has built social housing in the past. The majority of social housing was built in the post war period and residents were mainly working class who paid their rent to the state governments. The rent paid covered all repairs and maintenance.

Since the mid-1960s the types of social housing tenants changed significantly to include only very low income residents. It’s meant the amount of rent being paid could no longer cover maintenance, so the quality of existing social housing declined. At the same time, government expenditure on new social housing dwellings also reduced, compounding the problem.

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