MIL-OSI Submissions: Australia – City of Sydney to Combat Homelessness; Increased Affordable Housing under Labor’s Bold Plan

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Source: City of Sydney

In light of the recent Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey which rated Sydney the third most unaffordable City in the world, City of Sydney Labor has announced a bold plan to increase access to affordable housing in the City of Sydney for the future.

The recent Demographia International research, which rated Sydney as “severely unaffordable” on a ratio of house price to income, placed Sydney as close to the most difficult place in the world for working people to afford to live, trailed only by Vancouver (#2) and Hong Kong (#1).

Unlike the current Lord Mayor, who as recently as last month stated that “Housing is the responsibility of the NSW Government”, City of Sydney Labor believes the responsibility for the supply and access to affordable housing lies with all three levels of government, including the City of Sydney Council.

As a Council that delivered a $195m net surplus for the previous financial year, Sydney Labor is committed to expanding the use of City resources to lead the challenging process of reducing those experiencing homelessness and delivering more affordable housing where state and federal governments have failed.

In response to extensive community and business engagement, City of Sydney Labor has today released our bold affordable housing policy, which is committed to fighting homelessness and tackling housing affordability.

Key policy initiatives include:

Free rates for City of Sydney pensioners;

Funding City support staff to assist those experiencing homelessness;

Conducting the City’s bi-annual Rough Sleepers Street Count, and setting targets to reduce rough sleeping by re-homing people;

Supporting the creation of at least one further suite of homes to support City residents currently sleeping rough into safe and affordable housing, such as a new Common Ground dwelling (with one Common Ground set of homes delivered in Camperdown by Tanya Plibersek MP under the Rudd Government);

Invest an additional $10 million into the City’s Diverse and Affordable Housing Fund, and limit its use to the creation of new affordable housing;

Explore the use of vacant City-owned properties for use for affordable housing;

Fighting to ensure the continued use of Voluntary Planning Agreements and collection of developer contributions to deliver new affordable housing, and expanding affordable housing contributions schemes to cover the entire City of Sydney local government area;

Continuing to strongly advocate for the rights of social housing tenants, and fight the sell-off of public housing in the City of Sydney;

Fund public housing tenant access to community legal and other support to ensure they have independent advice and support when the State Government is forcibly moving tenants;

Ensure the delivery of social and affordable rental housing includes appropriate wrap-around services to support vulnerable people in social housing, such as a Redfern-Waterloo Human Services Plan;

Collaborate with the NSW and Commonwealth Governments, and the Community Housing Providers (CHPs) to incentivise and provide a greater supply of quality social and affordable housing;

Fight for the right of the City of Sydney to take back planning controls on short term letting arrangements from the State Government, including limits on days of use.

Linda Scott, Labor’s candidate for Lord Mayor, said that tackling housing affordability was the responsibility of all levels of government.

“During the COVID pandemic, I worked with the State Government, community organisations and councils to see 3,732 people experiencing homelessness provided accommodation in the space of a week. We know big changes can happen with the willingness to act.”

“In my 9 years on Council I have moved more than 30 resolutions calling on the Lord Mayor to address housing affordability and homelessness, yet Sydney remains the third most unaffordable City in the world.”

“I’ve fought effectively for the establishment of an affordable housing fund, and targets for indigenous housing in Redfern and Waterloo social housing redevelopments,” said Councillor Linda Scott

“Sydney deserves a Lord Mayor that believes affordable housing is the business of all levels of government and is willing to work to increase affordable housing in the City of Sydney.”

“In 2006 the City’s levels of affordable housing target were 10.4%. That was cut to 7.5% under the Lord Mayor’s Sydney’s 2030 plan.

“If we don’t tackle housing affordability now, our future City workforce and economy is at risk.

“Working people deserve to live and work in our beautiful City of Sydney, and only Labor will deliver this outcome for the future.

MIL OSI – Submitted News