New era of social housing


NSW is embarking on a new era of social housing with a large scale building program which will generate $22 billion in construction activity in NSW and produce better social outcomes for the community.

Minister for Social Housing Brad Hazzard said the program, ”˜Future Directions in NSW Social Housing,’ was a ten year reform that will deliver more housing, better opportunities for independence and better services for vulnerable households.

The program includes new partnership between the private and non-government sectors to deliver more homes at a minimal cost to taxpayers and ensures better outcomes for the community through:

  • 23,500 new and replacement social and affordable housing dwellings, to help reduce the waiting list.
  • Increasing the use of private rental assistance products by 60% to help vulnerable households avoid or leave social housing.
  • Delivering new mixed communities where social housing blends in with private housing.
  • Producing better amenity and environment and improved safety for public and private residents.
  • Transferring management of up to 35% of social housing to community housing providers, with longer term leases to be determined on a case by case basis.

“We are looking to the innovation of the private and non-government sectors   to redevelop old public housing estates into mixed communities which will put thousands of people in social housing on a better path,” Mr Hazzard said.

“Children in social housing should not see disadvantage as their only future. It does them good to see their neighbours in private housing going to a job each day.”

The Future Directions program is in addition to the Social and Affordable Housing Fund which will deliver 3,000 new social and affordable dwellings across NSW.

“The NSW Government is committed to reducing homelessness and breaking the cycle of disadvantage. Providing more social housing and ensuring the necessary support services are available for those in social housing is vitally important,” Mr Hazzard said.

“We’re also providing support and incentives to help people successfully transition out of the social housing system, and assistance to help people avoid entering it in the first place, with more support to vulnerable households in the private rental market.”

“While some people need social housing in the long term, for others it should be a stepping stone to employment. We will provide opportunities for those people to get training, find a job and move into the private rental market.”

Reforms include:

  • For the first time agencies including Health, Education, Justice, Planning and Environment, Industry and Family and Community Services are providing integrated services.
  • Early childhood centres will be opened at   some housing estates to give children that vital start to education.
  • NSW Health will deliver a home visiting program for mothers and babies in social housing areas and where possible, co-locate mental health teams within FACS districts.
  • Vulnerable young people and women and children fleeing domestic and family violence to be assisted through new and expanded rental subsidies.
  • Review FACS housing policies to remove disincentives to work.
  • Increase tenant satisfaction and improve maintenance and on-site job opportunities for tenants through the new maintenance contract.
  • Introduce rental bonds for new tenants and work with the Commonwealth to investigate an automatic rent deduction scheme for new tenants receiving welfare payments to improve housing stability and prevent homelessness.

“The Liberals & Nationals Government under Premier Mike Baird has made reducing homelessness and making social housing sustainable a state priority and these reforms will go a long way to delivering that,” Mr Hazzard said.

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