NSW social housing waiting list could be cut by three quarters within 10 years

9 May 2022

The NSW social housing waiting list would be cut by three quarters if a longstanding solution recommended by charities and community organisations was pursued as policy, according to a new report.

“The Society and other groups have been calling on the NSW Government to commit to building 5,000 new social housing dwellings every year for a decade for some time now.

“This new report commissioned by the Society and developed by the Centre for Social Impact at the University of New South Wales, shows that it would cut the waiting list by three quarters.

“The report also shows that on the state’s current trajectory of building social housing, the current waiting list will only be reduced by about 10 per cent by 2039,” St Vincent de Paul Society NSW CEO, Jack de Groot, said.

“The report uses data from 2021, when there were 51,351 applicants on the waiting list,” Andrew Wearring, Senior Research Officer from CSI UNSW, said.

“To reinforce the scale of the problem faced by people on this list, many parts of the state have waiting times of 10 years or more, particularly in larger cities.

“But this report shows that by building 50,000 new social housing dwellings, the waiting list could be reduced to 13,724 applicants by 2031,” Dr Wearring said.

“Given the housing affordability crisis currently being experienced throughout NSW, we are obligated to significantly scale up investments in social housing to ensure people have homes,” Mr de Groot said.

“The likely outcome if government doesn’t act is an increasingly long list, increasingly long waiting times, and an escalation in the rate of homelessness,” Mr de Groot said.

“Our members help people experiencing disadvantage including poverty and homelessness every day,” St Vincent de Paul NSW State Council President, Paul Burton, said.

“We try and get people back on their feet but helping people find safe, stable, long-term accommodation is becoming increasingly difficult.

“We can supply people with food and everyday necessities and help them pay bills to survive.

“But if we can’t find homes for people we, as a community, are sentencing them to subsistence living indefinitely.

“This is a problem that will be affecting more and more people as housing becomes out of reach for a larger number of people and the costs of living continues to skyrocket.

“We need to make a significant change in how we approach the problem posed by our very long social housing waiting list and growing risk of homelessness in the community,” Mr Burton said.

Media contact: Lachlan Jones  |  0417 446 430