VOX POP: If you were to run the government for a day, what strategy or policy would you implement to provide affordable housing?

If you were to run the government for a day, what strategy or policy would you implement to provide affordable housing?

Mark Singer, AHI Member
“Only a day? If policies/strategies are to stick for longer than 24 hours, we need a win-win approach, something that generates affordable housing funding. Whose funds? Not the pokie players scratching for a penny but the big fish gambling with our collective future – the fossil fuel lobby, climate deniers, Wall Street, casino owners, high net worth individuals – all looking for a fail-safe, bank-guaranteed bottom-line investment bonanza.”

“And the win-win strategy is – yes – Homelotto! Ho-melotto, Homel-otto, Homelot-to, omelette… whatever. How will it work? Modelled on the Sydney Opera House Lottery of the 1960s and 1970s, you guessed it, it’s a nationwide lottery offering a chance to wash untaxed earnings for BIG cash prizes at better odds than the gee-gees, or the ASX or the Virgin Islands. Remaining Homelotto revenue is distributed as ongoing capital funding for community housing organisations, federally legislated and administered by AHURI on evidence-based housing need. It’s a win-win, where big fish feel good about solving the affordable housing crisis for little fish, and await the win.”

“It’s tried and tested! With a reliable flow of funding, the CHO sector muscles up, is offered the entire national public housing stock at cut-rate prices, and then refits the portfolio with renewables. Talk about an Innovation Nation. Win-win- win and win!… (with apologies to WH and Jobs Lotto).”

Dr Tony Gilmour, Managing Director @ Housing Action Network

“One day of power: so much to do in so little time! While the tax system needs a major overhaul, I’d start with inclusionary zoning. Every new residential development with more than 20 homes across Australia (and Auckland too, if my power spreads) should deliver 20 percent affordable housing: Half should be for social housing rental for very low income tenants, with ownership gifted to community housing providers. The other half would be sold to eligible first-time homebuyers earning less than the median household income in the areas where they live.”

“Prices should be set so buyers pay no more than 30 percent household income on mortgage payments, and might involve outright purchase or shared ownership. If purchasers sell within five years, half of any capital appreciation should be returned to government and used to establish community land trusts. A simple, consistent approach across the country would give certainty for developers. The costs would be absorbed by a drop in land prices for developable land.”

“Using the planning system to help deliver affordable housing is a tried and tested approach used effectively around the world. What the proposed scheme ensures is that benefits go to people who need affordable housing most.”

Scott Langford, CEO @ SGCH Group 
“This is a great topic. It reminds me of what three wishes you’d have if you rubbed a magic lamp and out came a genie! Unlike a magic genie, though, I am more optimistic that achieving affordable housing changes in Australia is attainable.”

“Having worked in the sector for over a decade and been involved in many policy discussions across this time, I know there is no silver bullet. There is no one change that can lead to substantive change because this is a complex area. So, given the opportunity, I would like to see true collaboration that has government at all levels working together to provide a coordinated and integrated approach pulling multiple levers to deliver more affordable housing.”

“In order for this to happen, it needs to be a partnership that considers people, communities, place making, zoning, planning, finance models, environment and infrastructure. We need a partnership approach to ensure Australia is providing affordable housing for key workers in key areas that supports a growing economy and sustainable communities.”