A REPORT by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) has found that Australia needs to triple its social housing stock over the next 20 years to cover both the existing backlog and newly emerging need.
The report found that the current backlog and newly emerging need for social housing dwellings will lead to a total shortfall of 727,000 dwellings by 2036.
The report found that this is the result of 25 years of inadequate investment. The current construction rate of around 3,000 dwellings a year cannot keep pace with rising need or even make inroads into the backlog.
Fixing the problem of both the backlog and newly emerging need calls for a major program of social housing construction. Simply preventing the existing problem from getting worse calls for nearly 15,000 extra dwellings a year to be built. To eliminate the backlog would require an annual program averaging 36,000 units.
The required increase in social housing construction sounds huge, but it’s a rate Australia managed in the past and is lower than in many other countries.
The report found that direct government investment in social housing is ultimately far more efficient and effective than subsidising investors. Providing enough housing for low-income earners is a growing policy challenge. With rising homelessness and housing stress, it is imperative that there is an immediate boost to social housing stock.