Affordable housing for Sydney – your voice is needed
A major consultation is underway by the Greater Sydney Commission, planning Sydney’s future growth across six broad districts.
One proposal being considered could make an important contribution to address the affordable housing crisis gripping Sydney.
The Commission has suggested that there be a target of 5-10 percent of the extra value from land in major, government-led renewal areas be provided as affordable rental housing.
We think the target is too small: a target of 15-30 percent affordable rental housing would be fairer. We also think the target should apply to the total value of the affected land after a rezoning.
As well, the Commission’s proposal only applies to sites affected by state government changes, and the Commission has not given strong support to affordable housing schemes operated by local government councils.
This consultation by the Commission is a terrific opportunity to have a say on new and better ways to address housing affordability in Sydney.
Get involved Make a submission to the Greater Sydney Commission. The consultation closes at the end of March 2017.
More info from Shelter: Our factsheet, District planning in Greater Sydney provides more information to assist you in making a submission. We can also provide you with other information and suggestions to develop your submission, including providing articles for newsletters and attending events. Please contact: Sarah Wilson on 02 9267 5733 or by email email@example.com
Express your concern about rental bonds for public tenants
15 September, 2016
FACS Housing is considering how rental bonds for new public housing tenancies will work.
The introduction of bonds was included in the Future Directions for Social Housing strategy document. It talked about “an approach that mirrors the private market rent bond scheme, reinforcing tenant responsibility in regard to rent arrears and tenant damage, as well as helping to prepare them for transition to the private rental market.”
The Tenants’ Union, Homelessness NSW and Shelter have released a brief for the community sector on concerns raised by the proposal.
We were expecting a consultation paper to be released by FACS Housing, to give the sector an opportunity to consider and comment on the proposal. Instead, a number of peak bodies received a confidential draft Policy and Operational Framework, with a request for feedback by the end of the month.
The document provides no evidence to support the proposed change in policy, and makes no attempt to explain how it will meet its apparent objectives of “reinforcing tenant responsibility and preparing them for private market conditions”. It merely outlines how the policy will work. Just briefly, the Policy and Operation Framework would:
- require new public housing tenants to pay a bond of up to $1400 over two or three years, depending on the market rent and the tenant’s income
- utilise existing structures such as the Rental Bond Board, while allowing FACS to pocket the interest earned on public housing tenants’ bonds
- allow public housing tenants to be evicted for non-payment of a rental bond instalment
We’ll be in touch to discuss to get your thoughts on some of the details, but in the meantime we’re concerned that this policy is being developed without any investigation of its merit.
If you’re as concerned about this as we are, here’s what you can do:
- Write to the Social Housing Minister, Brad Hazzard, at <firstname.lastname@example.org>, outlining why you think bonds for public housing tenancies is a bad idea.
- Raise your concerns with your local Members of Parliament.
Let the Minister and his Parliamentary colleagues know how this will impact upon the work you do, and what it will mean for your clients.
Suggested wording for your letter
Dear Minister/Shadow Minster/local MP/MLC,
I understand that the Government is considering a rental bonds scheme for public housing tenants. It says it will do this to “reinforce tenant responsibility in regard to rent arrears and tenant damage”, and to “prepare tenants for private rental conditions”.
Based on our experience at [organisation], it is not clear that a rental bonds scheme will meet these objectives. Instead, it will place further financial hardship on some of our region’s most vulnerable people, making it harder for them to sustain a new public housing tenancy.
[Give some examples if you can]
We’d love to discuss this with you further. Please let us know what opportunities will be available for our organisation to make a more detailed contribution to your work on this issue.
Take action to make housing count in this Federal election
18 May, 2016
For the first time in years housing is shaping as a key issue in this Federal election. It will be up to all of us to lobby in our own electorates to make sure all candidates get the message and commit to taking action.
Factsheets on your electorate to use in your lobbying
Shelter has developed 8 factsheets on housing affordability in 8 marginal electorates in NSW.
(See below for links to the fact sheets.)
If you live in these key electorates, you can use these to lobby candidates and raise the issues.
You can use the information to include in:
- letters to the candidates
- letters to local media
- in questions to local election candidates forums
- any other local election events
But if you don’t live in these key marginal electorates, you can make your own factsheets using the format and links to the necessary information that we have also provided.
A national campaign for 5 key reforms
For this crucial election, National Shelter has joined with Homelessness Australia (HA), the Community Housing Industry Association (CHIA), and the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS), to launch 5 key reforms to deliver affordable housing and help end homelessness.
The campaign, Vote Home 2016, will be pushing parties to commit to these reforms and will continue throughout the election period – and you can use the policy document - there is also a 1 page summary - in your own local campaigning.
See more about the campaign on the campaign site
Please become a campaign supporter by signing the petition or start your own.
Here are the factsheets and policy documents to use to make sure that NSW Votes Home in 2016:
Help put real answers to housing affordability on the agenda for this month's state election
The measures the Government has taken to increase the supply of new homes have not improved affordability.
For those in the worst situation, low income renters, this policy simply does not respond to the problem. We have a huge undersupply of rental housing that is available and affordable to low income households; who are being forced further from jobs and opportunities. For low income home owners too, proposed policies, such as changes to strata laws, are likely to push them out.
We need systematic action from the Government to make a real difference. Shelter has released its ‘10 key issues’ to achieve this.
Can you speak up with your experience of housing stress, or your solution for housing stress during this period?
Different organisations and individuals are taking different approaches - some are sharing their stories on Facebook and Twitter, some are making press statements, some are taking action on the streets, some are hosting conferences. But we're also saying the same thing: #housingstress
Over the two weeks can you commit to intensively promoting the need for housing action?
Some things you can do:
- USE the hashtag #housingstress in the lead up to the election
- COME to any of the events being hosted by organisations (and let us know if you're planning something!):
- 12 March City of Sydney CityTalks, register here
- 18 March Leichhardt Uniting Church is hosting a candidate's forum around housing for residents in the area
- 22 March local groups in Liverpool area hosting a candidate's forum around housing
You'll be in the company of many organisations and citizens using these two weeks to focus on housing - they'll be making public statements, hosting community meetings and taking action in public places.
Yours for fairer housing