Community housing in regional New South Wales has a 10 year waiting list

The Community Housing Industry Association NSW (CHIA NSW) is calling for urgent action to address the state’s social housing waiting list.

There are more than 50,000 households waiting for up to 10 years or more for safe, secure and affordable community housing.

CHIA NSW has warned that households on the social housing waitlist are paying unaffordable private market rents, couch-surfing with family and friends, seeking help from homelessness services – or at worst, sleeping rough.

This is particularly the case in regional NSW, where vacancy rates of less than one per cent have driven up private rental prices, leaving families scrambling to find a place to live.

A CHIA NSW analysis of the NSW Department of Communities and Justice’s social housing waitlist and private rental vacancies between 2019 and 2020 shows:

  • Mid North Coast: 2912 households on waitlist, 73 per cent drop in private rental vacancies
  • Newcastle: 1648 households on waitlist, 45 per cent drop in private rental vacancies
  • Central Coast: 3004 households on waitlist, 77 per cent drop in private rental vacancies
  • Illawarra: 2438 households on waitlist, 62 per cent drop in private rental vacancies
  • Northern Rivers: 2652 households on waitlist, 70 per cent drop in private rental vacancies
  • Hunter Valley: 1569 households on waitlist, 52 per cent drop in private rental vacancies

CHIA NSW Chief Executive Officer Mark Degotardi explained they were advocating for “families, retirees and key workers” who had to wait up to 10 years for social housing in regional areas.

“This isn’t an inner-city problem,” he said.

“There are thousands of families in regional NSW on the social housing waitlist right now, desperately needing a safe, affordable home.

“The 2021-22 NSW Intergenerational Report has predicted that an additional 68,000 households will need social housing, meaning waiting lists will more than double by 2061. We need to clear the list now and start planning for the surging demand over decades to come.”

Mr Degotardi said there are non-profit community housing providers who are ready to start building homes as soon as they get adequate funding from the NSW Government.

“In less than a decade, community housing providers have built thousands of new homes across NSW, created thousands of new construction jobs, and contributed $1.2 billion to the state’s economy,” he said.

“We can do much more with more government support.

“Not for profit community housing providers stand ready to support the government in building social and affordable housing across the state. That must start with committed long-term funding in this month’s NSW Budget to address the state’s housing affordability crisis.”

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