Essential housing package forms cornerstone of NSW budget

Ahead of the Labor government’s state budget today (19 September), the NSW government has announced a new program targeting social and affordable housing.

The NSW government’s $224 million Essential Housing Package has been labelled as the first step of the lengthy project to rebuild the state’s social and affordable housing system, with this initial investment targeting to address the historic neglect of new social housing supply as well as trialling innovative solutions to remove people off the waitlist.

State Premier Chris Minns stated: “Everyone deserves access to safe and secure shelter.”

“This package will be a boost to social and affordable housing and will help break cycles of homelessness,” he added.

The scheme comes at a time when homelessness challenges continue to rise, especially in light of the state’s housing and rental crisis, with more young people, seniors aged 55 and older, and individuals with no previous history of homelessness struggling to find permanent accommodation.

Mr Minns believes the scheme is “an important first step as we better support people in some of the most vulnerable situations”.

The package is set to help strengthen the safety net for those experiencing housing insecurity and provide wrap-around support and services for some of the state’s most vulnerable, while also providing critical funding to extend access to temporary accommodation for those fighting homelessness, and for specialist homelessness services.

The Essential Housing Package’s funding will be broken down as follows:

– $70 million to accelerate the delivery of social and affordable homes, primarily in regional NSW, by funding initial land and site works

– $35.3 million for housing services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and families through Services Our Way

– $35 million to support critical maintenance for social housing

– $20 million reserved in Restart NSW for dedicated mental health housing

– $15 million towards a NSW Housing Fund for priority housing and homelessness measures

– $11.3 million urgent funding to continue the Together Home program in 2023-24

– $11 million emergency funding for temporary accommodation in 2023-24 to support vulnerable people

– $10.5 million additional funding to the Community Housing Leasing program

– $10 million for a Modular Housing Trial to deliver faster quality social housing

– $5.9 million urgent funding to specialist homelessness services to respond to increasing demand

Mr Minns said the package is the first step in the government’s plan to “address the challenges” posed by the state’s housing crisis, following years of inaction and neglect.

NSW Minister for Housing and Homelessness, Rose Jackson, stated: “Today is another step in the right direction as we rebuild our housing system.”

“We know there is more work to do but our focus is on directing more money to build social and affordable homes and ensuring everyone in NSW has a safe place to call home,” she concluded.

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