A report in the Australian on Friday 10 Februray suggests that the Commonwealth is considering cutting the National Affordable Housing Agreement (NAHA). The NAHA provides the majority of the subsidies for public housing and funding for homelessnes services. In NSW this is worth $430 million in 2016-17. NSW receives a further $72 million from the Commonwealth through two partnershiop agreements, and spends a further $428 million of state grants and $867 million of tenant rents and charges on housing and homelessness. On the face of it, cutting the NAHA would reduce the funds available to run our housing and homelessness system by nearly a quarter.
While the article was largely a beat up, it is likely that it reflects at least tenantive government thinking. It also rehashes the routine Commonwealth puzzelment theat it spends $1.5 billion be public housing stock is reducing and homelessness has increased. However, by the time the NAHA replaced the previous ACSHA, funding was already been enough to increase stock; and simply funds part of the recurrent costs - largely because the rental income had fallen dramatically due to targeting public housing to those on the lowest incomes. Moreover, demand for both social housing and homelesseness services has been largely driven by Commonwealth policies - particularly the speculation fuelled by tax concessions for investors.
There has been a very strong reaction from housing, homelessness and wider ciommunity organistions to the suggestions of cuts to the NAHA. National Shelter's press release can be read here and other discission can be found here.