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Housing and Homelessness

Housing affordability in our city is at 'crisis point'

3 min read

A new not-for-profit real estate agency will receive City of Sydney start-up funding to increase the supply of affordable rental housing in the inner city – as the City’s latest homeless street count results are released.
Community housing provider Bridge Housing will receive $100,000 from the City of Sydney to establish a new real estate agency that will enable private landlords to support people seeking affordable rental housing.
In addition, the City has set aside approximately $24 million for affordable housing measures, including grants to non-government organisations Salvation Army, HammondCare and St George Community Housing, as well as the sale of land to City West Housing at Harold Park, Green Square and Alexandria.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the people who wind up sleeping rough on our streets were the very tip of an enormous iceberg.
“More than 60,000 people are stuck on the state government’s waiting list for social housing, with some waiting up to 10 years for a property to become available. Many people literally have nowhere else to go,” the Lord Mayor said.
“Housing affordability in our city is at a crisis point, we urgently need more affordable and supported housing in the inner city, and we’re ready to work with the NSW Government to help provide it – if they will let us.
“The grants and other measures taken by the City are already contributing more than 1,800 places to Sydney’s affordable housing supply.”
The City of Sydney’s latest street count, conducted in the early hours of the morning on Tuesday 15 August, found 386 people sleeping rough across the city, demonstrating the need for more affordable housing and support.
State-funded crisis and temporary accommodation beds were found to be at 86 per cent occupancy. There were 600 people in crisis and temporary accommodation beds – 438 in crisis accommodation and 162 in temporary accommodation.
Street count volunteer Daryl Smith is one of the City of Sydney’s homelessness advisors. Until four years ago Daryl was sleeping rough on the streets of Sydney.
“I was homeless on and off for nearly 25 years, but now I’ve got a roof over my head and support behind me,”  Smith said.
“People who are homeless need housing with ongoing support. Sometimes you might get support for six months and then it drops off. It needs to be continuous.
“The reason I get involved with the street count is because I know a lot of the faces on the street. They get to see the little bit of change in me and see that it’s okay to get housed and to get your life back in order.”
The Bridge Housing model, supported by the City of Sydney, provides private landlords with the opportunity to have their properties rented at either full market rent, reduced market rent or on a philanthropic basis – and potentially receive a tax deduction for rent foregone, subject to approval from the Australian Taxation Office.
Properties rented at reduced rates will increase the supply of affordable housing, while those rented at market rates will produce income for Bridge Housing to reinvest in affordable housing for tenants.
The Bridge Housing agency will be based on the successful HomeGround model run by Launch Housing in Melbourne, which manages more than 200 properties.
Bridge Housing CEO John Nicolades said the organisation was always seeking to create more safe affordable housing in Sydney.
“This is an exciting new model that enables private landlords to participate in generating new affordable housing supply under the secure management of a community housing provider experienced in social and affordable housing tenancies,” Nicolades said.
“Bridge Housing is delighted the City of Sydney has made affordable housing a high priority issue and has generously invested in the establishment of our HomeGround real estate venture.”
The City seeks to contribute to affordable housing supply through the use of development contribution schemes, subsidised land sales to community housing providers, grants, planning controls and planning agreements. These strategies are contributing more than 1,800 affordable and diverse housing units into the pipeline across the city.

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