MIL-OSI Australia: Inner-city Sydney vacant housing to be used for crisis accommodation for people seeking shelter

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Source: New South Wales Government 2

Headline: Inner-city Sydney vacant housing to be used for crisis accommodation for people seeking shelter

A social housing block set for redevelopment will be temporarily used to provide much needed crisis accommodation. Women and children escaping domestic violence are among the many individuals and families who will be able to access this accommodation in inner-city Sydney.

Homes NSW will partner with community housing provider, Bridge Housing, to utilise the existing 17-unit building to house people needing short-term accommodation. This model will continue to be rolled out across the state where suitable properties are identified to be used for temporary accommodation.

As the state continues to grapple with a housing crisis all options must be on the table to bring more safe and secure homes online sooner. Since July 2023, the number of households accessing temporary accommodation (TA) each night has increased significantly, with this site to provide vital short-term relief.

Temporary Accommodation is available for people experiencing homelessness, who are unable to access any other form of safe and appropriate accommodation. Increasing the supply of alternative accommodation, even in the ‘meanwhile’ reduces pressure for temporary and crisis support.

In direct response to the calls for more support, last year, the NSW Government made changes to Temporary Accommodation to create a better place for people in crisis by increasing the initial period of Temporary Accommodation, from two days to seven days and removing the annual 28-day cap.

In addition, people escaping domestic and family violence have had the cash asset limit assessment removed entirely to help break down unnecessary barriers for vulnerable people.

Homes NSW worked to relocate all previous residents into long-term permanent social housing. Rather than leaving the site vacant in a housing crisis. The NSW Government is ensuring that the building continues to be used for accommodation linked to support services under a ‘meanwhile use’ agreement with Bridge Housing.

The site will be used as short-term accommodation for up to 12 months. After this time, the property will be redeveloped into 43 new social homes, an additional 26 units than is currently available on the site.

During this time Homes NSW to complete detailed site investigations, final design and builder procurement for the new social housing development.

Minister for Housing and Homelessness Rose Jackson said:

“This innovative initiative demonstrates our unwavering commitment to addressing homelessness head-on by providing immediate relief to those in need.

“We know a big part of this housing crisis is homes left vacant that could be used by people in need. This is a common sense, practical approach to help get people back on their feet.

“The surge in demand for temporary accommodation emphasizes the urgent need for comprehensive support services. Securing additional funding is imperative to bolstering these services and delivering sustainable solutions for people experiencing homelessness.

“As we continue to rebuild our housing system, we are looking and what direct and immediate actions we can take to provide wrap around support and housing to vulnerable people.”

Bridge Housing’s Chief Operating Officer Simone Parsons said:

“Bridge Housing is honoured to undertake the tenancy management of this project in inner-city Sydney for Homes NSW.

“Taking properties earmarked for development and repurposing them for interim accommodation changes the lives of people experiencing homelessness and domestic violence. It gives them a stable base to get back on their feet, supported by the Women and Girls Emergency Centre (WAGEC), Weave and YWCA, while we work to find them long-term housing.

“Meanwhile housing helps solve immediate housing needs and is scalable and replicable for sites undergoing the DA process.”