Social Housing waitlist – 57,000 households in NSW and counting

Social housing stocks in NSW have not kept up with demand. In recent weeks CEO John Engeler was pleased to speak to ABC News, raising the alarm about the degree of unmet need for social housing in NSW, suggesting that without drastic action more people will become homeless.

In the same segment, University of NSW Professor Hal Pawson noted that while 7,000 new social houses were built in NSW in the decade to 2020 it was less than a third of the number required to keep up with population growth.

According to the ABC, the new NSW government assessed that overall social housing stocks in NSW under the former government went down by 300 dwellings (once sales and houses, when sales and demolition were accounted for).

“Once upon a time we might have thought the lower end of the private market might have been able to accommodate people — more and more that’s no longer the case.”

“We’ve almost hit a … point where what’s being offered compared to what’s being needed is to out of kilter, it’s reached a crisis point.”

Shelter NSW CEO John Engeler, ABC News (Tv & Print) 7 June 2023)

Late in May, Shelter NSW Senior Policy Office Cathy Callaghan joined other advocates speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald about the over-representation of young people, and especially young women in the official numbers on homelessness. She noted many young people won’t be on the social housing list. Being “very disconnected from mainstream government processes…we can assume it’s a massive under-reporting.”

Shelter NSW has been heartened by the NSW Government’s commitment to deliver substantially more social housing and to hear Minister Jackson’s commitment to giving a greater voice to those on the waiting list.

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