Although affordable housing is primarily the responsibility of state and federal governments, we’re using all the levers available under existing planning laws to deliver a steady stream of affordable homes. We need clear affordable housing strategies in place, at all levels of government, to increase the number of affordable rental housing places.
At this week's Committee meetings, Council voted to endorse new projects to significantly grow the number of affordable rental housing units in the city and help at-risk young people from becoming homeless.
The new proposals include:
- A $3 million grant to St George Community Housing Limited to house and support up to 75 young people at risk of homelessness;
- The subsidised sale of City-owned land in Alexandria to community housing provider City West Housing, to be used for around 200 affordable rental housing units; and
- Additional land in Alexandria earmarked for negotiation and sale to interested community housing providers, with space for around 100 more affordable rental housing units.
Already the City has helped finance the creation of 800 affordable housing units, as well as supplying grants for housing projects including $1.5 million to HammondCare for the development of a subsidised residential aged care facility, and $250,000 to The Salvation Army for crisis accommodation in Surry Hills.
The City finances affordable housing projects through an affordable housing contribution scheme – a levy on development in Green Square, Ultimo/Pyrmont and the new Southern Employment Lands areas. The City has asked the State Government for permission to expand this levy across the local government area, to finance more affordable housing projects, but has not received approval.
If the State Government approved our request to expand that levy across the city, we could provide even more affordable housing and make sure the people who keep our city running – such as police, teachers and paramedics – can afford to live here.