National housing affordability framework urgently needed to address critical lack of affordable housing

On any given night, we know that one in two-hundred people are homeless. The total number of people experiencing homelessness grew by 14% between the last two censuses, to more than 116,000 people. Three out of every five low-income households are currently in housing stress or crisis, meaning they cannot afford their housing. We are facing a worsening crisis and need a coordinated response.

A new report as part of the Amplify Social Impact initiative at the Centre for Social Impact (CSI), Amplify Insights: Housing Affordability and Homelessness , delves into the key drivers of homelessness and looks at the critical issue of housing affordability in Australia, while offering insights into the way forward. The report is the first major report from Amplify Social Impact, an ambitious project that provides evidence and accessibility to data, enables best-practice advice and support on outcomes measurement, and powers the evolution of social change across the social purpose landscape.

The report was produced by CSI and City Futures at UNSW Sydney, in partnership with PwC Australia and QBE. Australian Red Cross and Mission Australia also contributed to the report, which identifies key levers for change, and argues that there are immediate solutions that can be implemented across the housing affordability continuum to make an impact.

Report author and CSI CEO, Professor Kristy Muir said that it was clear that a coordinated strategy was crucial to addressing this complex issue.

“Homelessness numbers in Australia are unacceptable, we have an affordable housing supply crisis and it’s clear from this report that we need to find a way forward to achieve safe, secure, affordable and appropriate housing for all. This is not a simple issue, nor is it any one sector’s responsibility. It is a complex problem that needs a complex solution and a joint, coordinated response. We need a national housing affordability framework to enable all sectors to play a role in addressing this issue.

“At CSI, we’re already working with others to help catalyse change. Collaborating with PwC and QBE, two organisations committed to making an impact on homelessness, and with initiatives such as The Constellation Project, we can see a way forward. We hope to continue building our connections to other state-based collaborations and national campaigns.”

The Constellation Project is a partnership between CSI, PwC Australia, Australian Red Cross, and Mission Australia whose mission is to work towards ending homelessness in a generation. The report will be officially released at the launch of the Constellation Project, at PwC’s offices, Sydney.

Rosalie Wilkie, Social Impact Partner at PwC said that the Insights report helped set the scene for the work that needs to be done through The Constellation Project.

“We decided upon an ambitious agenda this year, to be a part of a collaboration that will work towards ending homelessness in a generation. With this CSI Insights report, we can clearly see the work that needs to be done. It sets the scene and gives us actionable insights into how we can work together on this important social issue.”

Phil White, CEO of QBE Lenders’ Mortgage Insurance said: “We don’t have a housing supply crisis in Australia, we have an affordable housing supply crisis, with almost 80 per cent of new housing stock being priced at the upper end of the housing market.

“This report shows that we need to work together, to do more to cater for a market that is representative of our Australian communities now and in the future. As an active participant in the Australian housing market, I’m really proud QBE has and will continue to support this work along with other corporates, non-profits and government departments.”