The NSW Labor Opposition has urged the Berejiklian-Barilaro Government to invest in the construction of social housing dwellings as a way to boost the economy, create jobs and reduce the number of people without stable accommodation across the state.
The call comes off the back of a report released today by NSW Council of Social Services (NCOSS) which highlights how investment in social housing is key to the COVID-19 economic recovery.
Shadow Minister for Building Reform and Property Yasmin Catley and Shadow Minister for Housing and Homelessness Ryan Park called on the Government to boost investment and stimulate the economy by prioritising social housing in NSW.
Modelling outlined in the report suggests that constructing 5000 additional social and affordable housing would also support 18,000 construction jobs. Of concern is the predictions of rising unemployment which is projected to increase homelessness by between 7,905 and 16,140 people in NSW.
To access NCOSS latest research, click here.
There is a desperate shortage of social housing in NSW with over 51,000 applications on the wait list with many waiting over 10 years. The State’s housing situation has left many individuals with no choice but turn to crisis accommodation, couch surf, or to sleep rough.
Before COVID 19 hit many individuals were struggling to buy or rent a home. In addition even before the pandemic, specialist homeless services were already at capacity and this demand will only increase as the full extent of the economic crisis becomes apparent.
Mr Park said: “The COVID crisis has made it very clear how important housing is, not only does it provide security and safety for families it has to be part of our economic recovery.
“We know the construction industry is a very effective way to generate jobs and stimulate the economy. Now more than ever, investment must be prioritised that will generate job opportunities, support small businesses and provide apprenticeship opportunities for our young people and those forced to look for other career options.
“With over 2000 rough sleepers currently in temporary accommodation, a significant investment is social housing will not only support jobs and the economy, it will also help the most vulnerable in the community access long term stable accommodation to help them become active and productive members of society.
Ms Catley said: “These projects will mean more jobs across metro and regional areas, and more long term social housing across the state – it’s a win-win.
“We know building and construction is a very effective way to generate jobs and stimulate the economy. Now more than ever, we must prioritise investment into public infrastructure, including social housing."