Social Housing in New South Wales

Authored by:

Emma Barnes, Chris Hartley, Andrew Wearring

Status: Completed February 2022

The Centre for Social Impact (CSI UNSW) has partnered with the St Vincent de Paul Society NSW to examine the commitments of the New South Wales government since 2016 to develop new social housing dwellings.

Together, they have published two reports to advocate with the NSW government the need to commit more targeted investment towards social housing with the aim of reducing the number of applicants on the NSW social housing list.

Report 1 - Social Housing in New South Wales: Contemporary Analysis

It is estimated that since 2016, the NSW Government has committed to build 9,386 new social housing properties by 2026.

This research found that the additional social housing dwellings announced by the NSW government since 2016 are insufficient to address the current high numbers of people waiting to access social housing.

The research also examined the financial commitments made by the NSW in relation to social housing, including their spending on social housing per capita and the number of social housing homes as a proportion of total housing stock. It found that both total expenditure on social housing per capita and social housing as a proportion of total housing stock are in decline in NSW.

Report 2 - Social Housing in New South Wales: Future Impact

The second report, Social Housing in NSW: Future Impact forecasts the impact of investing in 5,000 new social housing homes every year for ten years on three key housing indicators:

  • The number of people experiencing homelessness
  • The number of applicants on the NSW Housing Register
  • The number of households experiencing housing stress

The report finds that the investment in 5,000 new social housing homes per year for 10 years is a critical step towards providing all households in NSW with safe, secure and affordable housing.

It also identifies that, given the increasing occurrence of factors that contribute to the need for social housing, the NSW government's current level of investment is not enough to address the state's social housing needs over the next ten years to 2031.

The researchers used social housing data to forecast trends and predict levels of need in terms of the expected number of people experiencing housing stress and homelessness.

The data asked what this level of demand would create on the NSW Housing Register and considered the difference that an extra 5,000 social housing homes each year would make.

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