Housing Affordability & Homelessness
WEL’s Policy Demands
- Build/acquire 5,000 social and affordable homes per year for 10 years to help restore the social housing safety net, including for women and children who have experienced domestic and family violence, older women and Indigenous women. Expand the social housing repairs and maintenance program.
- Respond to older people’s homelessness by lowering the priority age for social housing eligibility from 80 years as a matter of urgency and funding a specialist older person’s housing information and support service that comprises both an early intervention and crisis response, similar to the HAAG ‘Home at Last’ model in Victoria.
- Expand rental assistance and protect tenants against no cause evictions to help prevent homelessness and increase funding for the Specialist Homelessness Services Program by 20% to support services to meet current demand.
Many women face problems in accessing affordable housing due to a lifetime of economic and other disadvantages. This has been exacerbated more recently by escalating housing costs.
Both home purchase and private rental are unaffordable for many women. As a result of government failure to invest, social housing stock as a proportion of total housing has fallen by approximately 60% over the last 30 years. There are approximately 57,000 households on the NSW social housing waiting list.
Family and domestic violence is the primary reason women and children seek help from specialist homelessness services, but only 3.2% are currently receiving the long-term housing solutions they need.
Older women are the fastest growing group experiencing homelessness, with the number of NSW women over 55 experiencing homelessness increasing by 48% between the 2011 and 2016 Censuses, and by 78% for those aged between 65 and 74.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people make up around 3.2% of the NSW population yet they made up 32% of clients assisted by homelessness services in 2021–22.