Affordable Housing Campaign
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 need your help right now - please take action below!
The story so far...
In 2015, 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:
- 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.
- They can adopt laws requiring “inclusionary zoning” (or “shared value”) in major new developments. This means new developments must set aside a minimum percentage of their units for lower-income-affordable rental (preferably at least 15% of the whole development when on private land, and at least 30% when on government land). In this way, people on moderate and low incomes are not excluded. See under Take action (below) what you can do now to help make this happen!
- They can move to end "no cause evictions" in legislation which leave low-income renters unnecessarily vulnerable. Make Renting Fair
Background on these actions, and why we recommend them, can be found under About the issue and more in Resources below.
On May 4, 2017, almost 400 people including over 100 community leaders from all over Sydney rallied to tell NSW Planning and Housing Minister Anthony Roberts they supported stronger targets for lower-income-inclusionary rentals in new developments. on 12 July 2017 over 600 people repeated the call at a second assembly - as reported by the ABC.
In August 2017 we were present when a petition of over 16,000 signatures was presented to NSW Parliament in support of the affordable rental target. Sydney Morning Herald "Domain" report
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.
- Sydney's housing has recently been rated the second LEAST affordable in the world, after only Hong Kong!
Following a review by the Greater Sydney Commission (GSC) in 2016-17, the NSW Government is considering what policies to adopt to alleviate what it admits is a very serious problem. The government has engaged expert advisers and is expected to announce soon what steps it will take.
In May and July 2017, over 700 people gathered at Sydney Alliance assemblies in Sydney to tell NSW Planning and Housing Minister Anthony Roberts they supported stronger targets for lower-income-inclusionary rentals in new developments. See ABC report on July 12 event
Expert evidence was presented - to the government, at the events and to the GSC - that legislated targets of 15% (on private land) and 30% (on public land) are feasible, viable and have been successfully used in many other cities worldwide - without harm to house prices or supply.
CURRENT ACTIONS YOU CAN TAKE PART IN:
3 August 2017: Support the launch of a petition at State Parliament! Our partner the St Vincent de Paul Society will host an event at Parliament House Theatrette to present their 16,000+ signature petition in support of inclusionary rental targets. If you’d like to attend, click here for registration and more info.
Send the message to your NSW MP! Personal contact with your local member of Parliament can also have an impact – some support our call, but the government has not yet committed to rental affordability targets. Express your concerns about the lack of affordable housing, and ask them to support the adopting of meaningful (not token) inclusionary zoning laws. Go to our action email page to take this action now. It's easy to personalise and send an email to your MP!
If you’d rather write a personal "snail mail" letter - good idea! You can download the information below which includes a sample letter and instructions to maximise your impact. Or you can adapt some of the text from our action email page which targets inclusionary zoning more specifically. Remember to give some details about how the problem affects your local community.
- 2/8/17: Calls for higher affordable housing targets as more people on cusp of poverty Sydney Morning Herald "Domain"
- 13/7/17: Housing affordability crisis bonds Sydney community across cultures and religions ABC News
- 8/6/17: Affordable housing assembly sends strong message to Minister South Sydney Herald
- 5/5/17: Sydney Alliance members rally around affordable housing Insights magazine
- 10/3/17: Housing affordability - time for NSW to turn words into action South Sydney Herald
- 23/1/17: Housing affordability: experts urge Gladys Berejiklian to act Sydney Morning Herald
- 27/7/16: NSW needs inclusionary zoning, says former Premier Sydney Morning Herald
- 22/6/16: Inclusionary zoning no.1 way of improving Sydney: expert Sydney Morning Herald
For further background information go to the resources page.