Social housing boost to ease pressure on WA rental market
22nd October, 2020
A plan to create another 2600 social and affordable houses across Western Australia by 2030 will not only provide shelter and security for the state’s most vulnerable but boost rental stock, lifting the burden on WA’s rental market.
WA Housing Minister Peter Tinley said the WA Housing Strategy 2020-2030 would connect the not-for-profit housing sector with private industry and government to create more safe, stable and sustainable homes.
The strategy sets a target of a 6% increase in social housing, which would add 2600 homes to the almost 43,000 social housing properties already in WA. But most of WA’s vulnerable people will be accommodated in private rentals. The blueprint also pledges assistance for 150,000 households to secure housing for them in the next decade.
Urban Development Institute of Australia WA chief executive Tanya Steinbeck has welcomed the move, saying it is in line with the institute’s priority to improve liveability and create diverse communities.
“The impact of COVID-19 on people’s employment stability and the broader economy is putting even more pressure on our social and affordable housing stocks and that is likely to continue for several more years,” Ms Steinbeck said. “Whilst housing prices have fallen in recent years, many within our community remain locked out of home ownership and affordable housing can be difficult to access due to a lack of supply.”
Ms Steinbeck said UDIA WA supported moves for more housing stock, but believed it was equally important to create diversity to meet different housing needs.
“Infill development and higher density development in the right areas will be a big part of that solution,” she said. “As the strategy recognises, people at different life stages and in various circumstances require a home that meets their needs at that point in time, such as a larger family home or a smaller, more accessible home.
“The broader infrastructure requirements for new and existing communities is also critical to address. As the strategy acknowledges, affordability is about more than the price of purchase or rent, it is about having access to safe and reliable transport options as well as amenities and services in close proximity or within easy access. That is why it is important that this strategy is complemented by broader infrastructure planning and investment as well as the continued progress of the planning reform agenda.”
Mr Tinley said the strategy was not just about building houses.
“It is about providing the right information, education and support to help people access and sustain a suitable and affordable home that meets their needs,” he said. “In the past 20 years, WA’s housing market has struggled more and more to meet the needs of people on low-to-moderate incomes and those with specific housing needs.
“Through strong partnerships across government, industry and the community sector we can create safe, stable and sustainable homes for all Western Australians – especially the most vulnerable.”