General News

CWA of NSW President Stephanie Stanhope. Image: contributed.

Social housing funding welcomed by CWA but need remains high

The Country Women’s Association (CWA) of NSW has welcomed last week’s commitment of more than $180 million from the State Government for 1400 new affordable housing properties.

The NSW Government said the $183 million package boosted construction, accelerated the building of more than 1,400 new social and affordable homes and supported an additional 990 households through rent assistance, including in areas hit hardest by the pandemic in Sydney’s west and regional communities.

The CWA of NSW, in partnership with Mission Australia, highlighted the urgent need for more social and affordable housing around the state, particularly in regional areas, during its annual Awareness Week campaign in September.

CWA of NSW President Stephanie Stanhope said this week’s funding announcement was a welcome acknowledgment by the State Government of the critical need for more social and affordable housing stocks across NSW, with a 2020 NSW Council of Social Services (NCOSS) report showing there was a shortfall of more than 200,000 social and affordable homes and almost 60,000 households were waiting for social housing. Waiting times in certain regions of the state can be as long as 20 years.

“The theme for this year’s Awareness Week was quite obvious to our members this year, with all regions of the state experiencing severe housing stress when it comes to affordability and social housing availability. The COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impacts on so many households have only exacerbated this issue,” Stephanie said.

“Pandemic restrictions have prompted many city-dwellers to consider a move to the regions, which has pushed up the price for homes in these areas and is impacting locals who are either looking to get into the housing market or looking for somewhere to rent.

“So, the announcement of funding that will lead to hundreds of more affordable properties around our state is good news and will go some way to addressing the need and hopefully bringing down waiting times for social housing.”

During Awareness Week 2021, the CWA of NSW joined with community housing providers around the state in calling for the establishment of a dedicated NSW Government capital fund to build 5000 new social housing properties every year for 10 years in an effort to address the unacceptably long waiting lists for accommodation.

“This is good news for individuals and families who face the direst of circumstances when it comes to securing safe, stable and affordable housing options, but more funding and initiatives are obviously needed and we hope the NSW Government continues to focus on the issue and makes it a priority as we go into 2022,” Stephanie said.

“Everyone is entitled to a safe and secure place to live and not be faced with the terrible prospect of homelessness because they can’t afford a roof over their heads. This is unacceptable in our society, and we look forward to further announcements of support for those who need it most.”

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