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Australia Can we solve Australia's housing crisis? Ambitious plan launched to eradicate rental stress and lower homeless rate

05:51  01 august  2022
05:51  01 august  2022 Source:   abc.net.au

Fresh calls to change laws in Tasmania preventing pets in rentals amid housing crisis

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There are calls for governments to invest in 50,000 homes a year. (ABC News: Nic MacBean) © Provided by ABC NEWS There are calls for governments to invest in 50,000 homes a year. (ABC News: Nic MacBean)

Homelessness Australia has launched an ambitious plan to solve the housing crisis in Australia.

The plan would halve the number of residents experiencing rental stress within five years and end it in 10 years.

It would also halve the number of people repeatedly turning to homeless services for help.

They are calling on state and federal governments to invest in 50,000 homes a year.

This would include investing 25,000 affordable rental properties every year for low-income earners, and another 25,000 social housing properties.

ACT's proposed ban on 'no-cause evictions', solicitation of rental bids opens for public consultation

  ACT's proposed ban on 'no-cause evictions', solicitation of rental bids opens for public consultation The ACT government releases a draft bill proposing changes to rental laws, including banning landlords or agents from soliciting rental bids and eviction of a tenant without cause.The Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill 2022, set to be tabled in the ACT Legislative Assembly next week, is intended to support Canberra renters as the cost of living rises and pressure increases on rental availability.

The chairperson of the advocacy group Homelessness Australia, Jenny Smith, said homelessness could be over within a decade.

"There is the opportunity for the federal government to tap into institutional investors like superannuation funds," she said.

"Our superannuation funds invest in social housing in other countries but the settings for them to do so in Australia haven't been there to date."

The proposal prioritises ending homelessness for Indigenous people and for women and children, who are over-represented among the 116,000 Australians homeless every night.

"The biggest driver of homelessness in our community is women and children escaping family violence and a choice between violence and staying with it or escaping that violence into poverty," Ms Smith said.

Goondiwindi has a tight rental market, but many believe it's a good sign for the region

  Goondiwindi has a tight rental market, but many believe it's a good sign for the region The vacancy rate in this regional Queensland town is just 0.1 per cent. But some residents think it's a positive as more and more young people are buying and staying in the region.Young professionals like Grace Griffiths are flocking back to the region, four hours west of Brisbane, lured by good seasonal conditions and a relaxed lifestyle.

Homelessness Australia is calling on the federal government to increase the annual $1.3 billion allocated to the states for housing, and tie it to delivering the plan.

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Ms Smith said it would ultimately save money, given homelessness is estimated to cost at least $670 million a year.

In a statement, Minister for Housing and Homelessness Julie Collins reaffirmed the government's commitment to its own National Housing and Homelessness Plan, which includes acute crisis housing for domestic violence victims and support for Indigenous housing and veterans.

The government's key promise is a $10 billion housing fund, delivering 30,000 social and affordable homes within five years — significantly less than the plan announced by Homelessness Australia.

Ms Collins acknowledged that there was a shortfall in social housing.

"We are at least 433,000 social housing properties short today and that need will only grow," she said.

ACT government outlines plans to deliver 30,000 new homes over five years, including build-to-rent

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"We will see an investment of 20,000 social housing properties from the current federal government over the term of this government but we really need to amp that up."

Desperate search for a home

The homelessness statistics in Australia are staggering.

Since June 2021, rents in Australia have increased 13.2 per cent, and in 2020-2021 over 100,000 people came to homeless services needing long-term housing.

Arok Deng is due to give birth in four weeks and is desperate to find a home.

"I have been looking for a property for the last three to four months," she said.

Arok Deng, a security worker, has always lived with her parents, but with four of her five siblings plus her young niece living there too, it's crowded.

"I have inspected about 35 houses and out of 35 houses I haven't got not even a single one back so far," she said.

"They just say, 'Oh well, the property manager needs someone with a rental history.'

"How are we going to get a rental history when you don't give us a chance to get a rental history first?"

It's not the first time housing has been uncertain for Arok Deng. She spent nine years in a refugee camp in Kenya.

"To come from a history of background where finding a house was difficult before, or you just have to live in a little tent, it's devastating to know we are still going through this right now," she said.

The 26-year-old, her partner and their baby must find somewhere soon.

"You are getting absolutely nothing out of those properties, not even a one single phone call to say hey you've been approved.

"It is just devastating and it's very upsetting for a person like myself."

Tasmanian property investor drop 'a worry' for the rental market, REIT says .
For renters, Tasmania's market is one of the tightest in the country — and a big drop off in investors buying in could see it become even worse, experts fear.The number of investors purchasing a Tasmanian property in the June quarter fell by 20 per cent compared to the previous quarter.

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