Affordable Housing

 

We aim to engage support in the Uniting Church, in the wider community and among political and economic decision-makers, for improving housing affordability.

We’re working alongside with our partners in the Sydney Alliance and Churches Housing.

We need your help right now - please take action below!

 

Uniting supporters at NSW Parliament “Moving in with Mike” protest, 2015

The story so far...

In 2015, the Uniting Social Justice Forum held Table Talks across the NSW and ACT Synod of the Uniting Church to gather a broad range of stories and experiences of housing stress, and to generate ideas. There was strong agreement that governments need to take action.

A summary of the findings is under Resources below.

From 2016 we held meetings with NSW MPs and political leaders, and asked our supporters to write to their local NSW and ACT members of parliament. 

Our research shows there are positive steps these governments can take to significantly improve the provision of secure and affordable housing:

  1. They can develop a comprehensive long-term social and affordable housing plan with targets and timelines - to ensure governments are publicly accountable for promises and we can track progress.

  2. They can adopt laws requiring “inclusionary zoning” (or “shared value”) in major new developments – where developers must set aside a significant percentage of their new properties (preferably around 30%) for affordable housing, so people on moderate and low incomes are not excluded. See under Take action below what you can do now, before 31 March 2017!

  3. They can move to end "no cause evictions" in legislation which leave low-income renters unnecessarily vulnerable. 

Background on these actions, and why we recommend them, can be found under About the issue and more in Resources below.

Housing is a basic human right - essential to our wellbeing and quality of life.

Without stable housing, it’s difficult to care for your family, gain employment or remain engaged with education or training.

Housing is considered “affordable” for people on below-average incomes if it costs less than 30% of their income.

If it’s more, people are in “housing stress” – unable to afford adequate food, clothing, education and other essentials.

The impacts of the housing crisis are felt across the social spectrum, low-income and vulnerable households suffering most.

In NSW and ACT:

  • There’s a severe shortage of affordable rental properties, especially for those on lower incomes. More than a million people are in housing stress.
  • Rising prices have seen first home buyers increasingly squeezed out of the market. Home ownership has declined across all age groups, especially among low and middle income earners.
  • A decline in “social” (public) housing has led to lengthy waiting periods - up to ten years in some areas.
  • Homelessness is increasing - including a growing proportion of women, children and young people.

URGENT:  If you live in Greater Sydney, make a quick submission on affordable housing to the Greater Sydney Commission (GSC) before March 31, 2017.  

The GSC wants your feedback about their draft plans for your district of Sydney.

Tell the Commission in your own words how important affordable housing is to you, your family, friends, workmates, employees and people in your community. Give personal examples if you can. Tell them you'd like to see:

  • The draft "inclusionary zoning" targets of 5-10% of units in new developments made available at lower-income-accessible rents, increased to at least 15% on private land, and 30% on government-owned land

  • This quota applied to all units in the new development, not just the "uplift" of units added by rezoning

  • People on low-moderate incomes given access to these units, not just very low incomes 

  • These targets included in clear legislation, applying consistently across Greater Sydney and with a substantial onus of proof required for any exemptions

You can also contact your MP Personal contact with your local members of Parliament can have an impact – we’re already seeing encouraging signs of this, but now is the time to put words into action.

We encourage you to send an email or letter to your local (State or Territory) MP.  Express your concerns about the lack of affordable housing, and ask them to support the implementation of a comprehensive state plan for social and affordable housing and adopting of inclusionary zoning laws.

Go to our campaign site to take this action now.

If you’d like to write a hand-written letter, which we recommend, download the information below which includes a sample letter and instructions to maximise your impact?

Or you can adapt the text from our campaign site which targets inclusionary zoning more specifically.

Recent reports

For further background information go to the resources page