Social housing investment will give more bang for stimulus buck
The national Everybody’s Home campaign today called for social housing to be included in the Federal Government’s upcoming housing package announcement expected this week.
More than 300 Australian organisations have already called for increased investment in social housing to provide homes for Australians impacted by job losses as a result of COVID-19 and create construction jobs as the nation rebuilds from the pandemic.
Everybody’s Home campaign spokesperson Kate Colvin said spending on social housing would provide far greater returns for both the community and the economy than a narrow focus on grants for home buyers.
“The greatest impact from a housing package in terms of jobs will be to invest in social housing construction,” Ms Colvin said.
“Giving cash payments to people buying newly-built homes will give money to people who were already buying a house, which is no stimulus at all. It may help some buyers bring forward a purchase, but it won’t be enough to help someone who can’t afford to buy to get into the market.
“Overall, it is a much weaker strategy to stimulate construction and jobs growth than social housing construction.
“Giving cash grants to investors, will also push house prices up again, making it harder for home buyers to buy.”
Ms Colvin said there were many shovel-ready social and community housing projects that could get off the ground quickly with immediate investment and Government support.
“COVID-19 showed how important our homes are but it also showed the fragility of our current housing system,” Ms Colvin said.
“Funnelling scarce taxpayer funds to property investors to grow their portfolio would be a squandered opportunity when there are thousands of homeless Australians in hotels with no permanent housing, and many more people who are now unemployed and living on the edge of homelessness.
“Any housing package can’t just focus on people who can already afford to buy a home. It must also include investment in social and affordable housing to provide long-term housing that struggling renters in Australia can afford, as well as the boost needed to construction jobs and apprenticeships to get the economy going.”
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