A house is more than an economic asset: it’s security; it’s community; it’s a home.
Many Australians, including many people in the Hunter, don’t have a home. They are sleeping rough, couch surfing or living in temporary supported accommodation. Young people are finding it harder to buy their first home.
Many working people are experiencing housing stress because their mortgage repayment or their rent takes too much of their weekly pay.
Last week, the Australian Bureau of Statistics released Census data showing homelessness rates are up by 12 per cent in the Hunter. There are around 6000 people on the waiting list for social housing and thousands more people, including working people, experiencing housing stress.
Whichever way you look at it, our housing system is broken. But there are solutions.
A national campaign called Everybody’s Home has been launched. It is designed to help deliver housing solutions for all Australians.
More than 30 leading housing and social welfare organisations nationally have joined to lobby the federal government and other parties in the lead up to the federal election to implement its five-point plan for housing.
Compass Housing is a campaign partner. The campaign builds on the work we led with other housing organisations and experts to create the Towards a National Housing Strategy document.
There are five things the federal government can do to help fix our broken housing system.
1. Support first homebuyers: rebalance the tax system to make it fairer for ordinary people wanting to buy a home.
2. Facilitate more social and affordable rental homes: create a National Housing Strategy to meet Australia’s identified shortfall of 500,000 social and affordable rental homes.
3. Give renters a better deal: get rid of “no grounds” evictions and unfair rent rises so that the one in three Australians who rent have the security.
4. Provide immediate relief for Australians in chronic rental stress: increase Commonwealth Rent Assistance for the thousands of Australians struggling to pay their rent.
5. End homelessness by 2030.
Join the campaign at everybodyshome.com.au. The campaign partners are encouraging people to sign a petition to ask the government to turn the plan in to action.
When federal politicians came to Newcastle last month, as part of the inquiry into the Australian government’s role in the development of cities, I made the point that affordable housing is fundamental to a productive and liveable city.
All housing problems, the broken pieces of the puzzle, are connected.
Housing is a fundamental human right. It is crucial for so many other parts of our lives, including our physical and mental health.
Australian kids should not be living in shelters. People shouldn’t be undergoing cancer treatment while living in a car. You’re much better able to focus on studying, working or finding a job if you have a roof over your head. Given the fundamental importance of housing it beggars belief that there is no national plan for housing and no federal Minister for Housing.
Tell your local MP it is time for action, not reports or isolated election pledges.