City News

How much support will the City of Sydney’s affordable housing expansion offer inner-city residents?

The NSW Government last month approved plans to expand Sydney's rental housing scheme. Photo: Unsplash/Yang Xia.

By DANIEL LO SURDO

The NSW Government approved plans last month to extend the City of Sydney’s affordable rental housing scheme throughout the inner-city, with the new changes to come into effect on the 1st of July this year. 

Changes will mean that more affordable rental properties will be available in the city as new apartments and housing are built, with the City of Sydney aiming to add 10,000 affordable rental properties in the next 15 years. 

With the City estimating that just 1,000 units have been delivered so far, the affordable rental housing scheme requires new developers to make financial or floor space contributions to new affordable rental housing stock. 

Shelter NSW CEO John Engeler welcomes the extension of the strategy. 

“We commend the City of Sydney for persevering over a number of years to produce a municipality-wide plan for boosting the stock of much needed affordable rental housing,” Engeler told City Hub.  

“This scheme offers something practical for a group that is often overlooked – financially stressed, low-to-moderate-income renters in the private residential housing market.”

The move comes as the tide of renewal has priced out many longtime inner-city residents growing increasingly vulnerable to rental stress. 

“The forces of gentrification and an overstimulated housing market have combined to make the city unaffordable especially for renters in the private market,” Engeler said. 

“We … are concerned about the ‘hollowing out’ of the city – with ordinary people forced to the city fringes.”

Crisis response

With the inner-city in the midst of a housing crisis, it is estimated that, as well as the addition of 10,000 new affordable rental properties, 1971 social housing dwellings are also required in the next two decades. Of the 1000 applications requesting access to an inner-city social dwelling, over 300 have been classified as high-priority; meaning the applicant is at immediate risk of homelessness. 

Engeler understands that the State must implement stronger initiatives to protect the most vulnerable members of the inner-city housing market. 

“The City of Sydney’s affordable rental housing represents important progress but it is unlikely to solve the problem for the lowest income and most vulnerable people in the city,” Engeler said. 

“The provision of social housing falls squarely in the lap of the NSW Government … by our account NSW needs an additional 5,000 social housing dwellings per year for the next decade just to catch up with population growth and demand.”

The 2021/22 NSW Budget released this week unveiled minimal financial injection from the Berejiklian Government into social housing. A $147.1 million investment was allocated to the construction of 800 new social housing dwellings over the next two years throughout NSW, which looks to fall significantly short of the demand from the 50,000 applications on the State’s waiting list.    

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