Victoria’s Auditor-General says social housing problems remain but progress is being made in new report

Victoria's Auditor-General says social housing problems remain but progress is being made in new report

The head of a local housing provider says there are currently “paddocks of opportunity” to improve Victoria’s social housing, following release of a report on the issue.

Auditor-General Andrew Greaves found several problems uncovered in his 2012 social housing audit persisted, including ageing housing, unmet demand and a mismatch of dwelling types with demand.

But he acknowledged there was “significant work under way” and cited the government’s affordable housing strategy Homes for Victorians as an example of encouraging progress.

Haven; Home, Safe chief executive officer Ken Marchingo said he was pleased the report acknowledged that progress had been made.

He said the state government’s $2.7 billion commitment to improving social housing followed a decade of “policy drought” in the sphere.

This had been complemented by federal investment, Mr Marchingo said, opening up more opportunity.

He said resourcing had also improved within the department and Haven; Home, Safe was looking forward to working with the government.

But he said Mr Greaves “continued to wave the warning flag” about demand for such housing.

“I think it’s widely acknowledged at every level of government that demand is a problem,” Mr Marchingo said.

He said there was a significant shortage of affordable rental housing across the country, and Victoria’s overall growth had compressed the housing stock available to its most vulnerable residents.

The 2015-16 Department of Health and Human Services annual report showed there were 2415 social housing dwellings in the City of Greater Bendigo, with 1910 owned by the government’s Director of Housing.