THE GREENS ACTION PLAN TO END HOMELESSNESS:
A massive investment in public and social housing to deliver 10,000 new public and social homes each year for the next 10 years.
This once-in-a-generation building project will forever change peoples’ lives now and into the future. Previous NSW governments have divested from public and social housing to the extent that we now have over 100,000 people on the approved social housing waiting list and significant numbers more who simply can’t find a home they can afford. Without a major commitment to drastically increasing public and social housing dwellings, these people will be homeless. The Greens support all of the election policy calls by Shelter NSW and Homelessness NSW to end homelessness and to increase the percentage of public and social housing dwellings until it represents 10% of all dwellings.
Require parliamentary approval for the sell off of public housing and public land
The Greens will stop the sell off of public housing and public land suitable for residential dwellings. We will make the parliament vote on any sales of public lands and public housing properties worth over $1 million, rather than what we have now which is privatisation on a large scale without any transparency.
Since 2011, the Liberal National government has sold off more than $3b worth of social housing. By our calculations, that would build about 10,000 new dwellings. But from 2016-2021 - in a 5 year period - only just over 2,000 social housing dwellings were completed under the government's failed Community Plus program. This is no accident - this program is based on a self-funding model of public housing development which means that 70% of all new government public housing redevelopments are gifted to big developers and the private sector.
This is not a new problem, under the previous NSW Labor Government, the sell-off of public housing also occurred. Micheal Coutts-Trotter in 2013: “In fact, the portfolio has been depleting at an average of 2.5 public housing a day for a decade.”
Legislate to ensure no one evicted into homelessness
During this time of chronic affordable housing shortages right throughout the state, the Greens will legislate to stop people being evicted if they cannot find a place they can afford to live in and so face becoming homeless. In Sydney, house rents jumped 19% since the pandemic began which is way beyond annual wage growth - more than five times the wage increases in this time. In regional NSW, tenants are facing displacement and homelessness due to rents spiking 30 per cent since 2020, outstripping average annual wage growth up to seven times in the past year in the hardest-hit council areas.
We want to see the NSW government’s Private Rental Assistance scheme expanded to provide financial support to renters who are being forced to pay more than 30% of their income on rent until such time that rents are properly regulated and are in line with wages and the cost of living.
Require at least 30% affordable housing in all new private developments
Big developers have been given special treatment for too long without strong legislated requirements to include a percentage of ongoing affordable housing dwellings in their developments. Our plan will significantly increase the affordable housing stock by inclusionary zoning to achieve a minimum of 30% long term affordable housing in all new private residential developments.
Fund Cooperative and shared equity housing models
The Greens believe that we need more options for long term affordable housing including options for cooperative housing and community land trusts which would significantly reduce some of the huge costs associated with private home ownership.
We want to see government incentives for the development of these diverse housing options.
Establish an independent inquiry to recommend pathway for bringing for-profit, private student housing into public hands
The Greens want to ensure that university colleges and housing options are affordable and safe and meet the housing needs of all students. We want to see colleges and student housing owned and managed within public, transparent and accountable structures. Universities have been selling off and privatising student housing and allowing for-profit private housing companies to dominate the market and operate on publicly owned university lands, making profits from excessive rent charges.
Disability and sustainability standards
The Greens want to see all government housing developments constructed in accordance with ecologically sustainable development principles and be climate positive and climate ready. Housing should be built with the Gold Level Liveable Housing Design guidelines for gold standard accessibility standards and principles of universal design to ensure the availability of a diverse range of housing options for all people, including First Nations, older people and people with disabilities.
First Nations owned and managed housing
The Greens believe it is critical that First Nations owned and operated public and social housing is funded as a priority if we are going to solve the homelessness crisis and face the ongoing impacts of colonisation and displacement. The Greens support strong government funding to Aboriginal community controlled organisations to create and manage First Nations specialist housing and homelessness services. We support Aboriginal communities’ priorities such as those of the Redfern Waterloo Aboriginal Affordable Housing campaign which calls for 10% Aboriginal affordable housing in all government redevelopments in the Redfern Waterloo area as well as an increase in Aboriginal social housing. Additionally the Greens support the campaign’s call that any community housing provider either be Aboriginal owned and managed or if not, work in partnership with an Aboriginal led organisation. We also support the call for targets for Aboriginal employment and contracts for construction.
Ensure whole of government commitment to a ‘Housing first’ policy approach
The Greens plan to end homelessness starts with NSW committing to a Housing First approach which provides people with a home and supports them with the wrap-around services they need so that they need to achieve long term housing security.
Older women, disabled people, young people, and those from the LGBTIQ+ community are disproportionately at risk of homelessness. With the number of older women facing homelessness increasing drastically over the past years, the need for targeted programs and specialised housing and services is crucial.
Funding of Specialist housing homelessness and services
The Greens commit to fully funding specialist housing and homelessness services with secure funding by commissioning 5-year contracts to enable certainty and innovative service delivery.
We will increase the provision of early intervention, support services and programs for people at risk of homelessness, as well as for people to exit homelessness and secure ongoing housing.
As part of our plan, we will lower the priority age for social housing eligibility from 80 years old so that the growing number of at risk older people, especially women, will be eligible for priority public and social housing.