Community housing provider Link Wentworth will bring all sides of politics, decision makers across business and community together to discuss the increasing demand for more social and affordable housing policy, funding and solutions in Greater Western Sydney and Australia.
Link Wentworth’s upcoming event, The Big Housing Debate – meeting the social and affordable housing needs of Western Sydney now and in the future, will be held for the first time this year in the lead up to the 2022 Federal election, and will discuss why supply of social and affordable housing has not kept up with demand and the effects of rising housing and rental stress.
The Big Housing Debate will be an important platform to discuss housing affordability in Western Sydney, and why solving the housing crisis in the diverse and fast growing Greater Western Sydney region would allow for solutions relevant to current and future housing needs across Australia. It will also include a lived experience address from a Link Wentworth resident on single women securing safe, affordable housing.
The discussion will also hear recent findings from a report commissioned by the Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue (WSLD).
The report revealed NSW is expected to see an affordable housing shortfall of 316,700 units by 2036, with the Western Sydney region alone experiencing a shortfall of 28,200.
Link Wentworth CEO Andrew McAnulty said the Big Housing Debate will help to highlight the economic, health and social benefits that would come from a comprehensive federal government housing policy and further investment in social and affordable housing. The urgency to address social and affordable housing, ahead of the 2022 federal election, follows the 21.42% surge in house prices and 7.67% increase in rents in 2021.
“By working with Government and the private sector, Link Wentworth and other CHPs are well equipped to provide basic human necessities like shelter and a sense of community,” Mr McAnulty said.
“This is seen through the tailored housing and wrap-around services we provide that helps a wide range of people on the housing spectrum gain stability to enter the workforce or improve their personal lives.
“We’re also particularly concerned with the increasing number of women who are at risk of homelessness. There isn’t adequate affordable housing for single older women, one of the fastest growing cohorts experiencing homelessness, nor women experiencing domestic violence. It’s a situation that needs urgent attention, reform and funding.”
Based on the WSLD’s report, which revealed more than 50 per cent of current tenants have held a lease in social and affordable housing for at least 10 years, Mr McAnulty said CHPs are becoming more essential.
Mr McAnulty acknowledged that despite continued work from CHPs, more focused federal investment and support is needed for those currently in social housing and those who will need it in the future. This includes funding various innovative housing solutions for women at risk, which is often limited.
“It’s been estimated that the cost of building enough social and affordable housing across NSW to meet its shortfall would be around $3.5 billion per year.
“We all need to come together and discuss the issues and potential solutions to reduce the number of Australians without suitable dwellings.”
The Big Housing Debate will be held on Thursday, 21 April 2022 at The Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Theatre in Penrith and will be live streamed for remote viewing. Hosted by ABC presenter Juanita Phillips, the event will feature speakers including National Affordable Housing Alliance chair and Frasers Property Executive Chair Rod Fehring, Tenants Union NSW CEO Leo Patterson Ross, and Shadow Minister for Water, Housing and Homelessness the Hon Rose Jackson. Organisations including Landcom and NHFIC will also be represented with additional Federal and NSW parliamentarians to confirm.
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