Community housing and homelessness service providers are disappointed that the NSW state budget handed down on Tuesday does not have more money for increasing supply of social and affordable housing.
The budget includes a $2.2 billion housing package: $1.5 billion for housing-related infrastructure through the Housing and Productivity Commission; $400 million for Restart NSW to deliver infrastructure; and $300 million for Landcom to accelerate the construction of new homes (30 per cent of which will be affordable).
Housing Trust chief operating officer Amanda Winks said the lack of funding to boost housing supply was "a real blow" to the 56,000 households waiting for social housing in NSW, including 4000 in the Illawarra Shoalhaven.
Ms Winks said the budget's focus on infrastructure - such as parks, roads and utilities - were important and did unlock future housing supply, but there was nothing new in delivering actual additional housing.
"A commitment to the establishment of Homes NSW - a single coordinated agency focused on housing and housing services - is a great plan, and we are really encouraged about continuing our existing relationships under the new agency," she said.
Ms Winks also said she was hopeful there was more to come in future after the NSW government said its $224 million Essential Housing Package, announced on Saturday and delivered in Tuesday's budget, was a start in tackling the housing crisis.
However, she said the package - while "vitally important" - only treated the symptoms of the crisis when it was not coupled with a substantial commitment to boosting supply.
"We also see this as a missed opportunity to build on the momentum that the federal government has created with its recent announcements," Ms Winks said.
The federal government recently gained the support of the crossbench to pass the Housing Australia Future Fund (HAFF), and in June announced the $2 billion Social Housing Accelerator.
Community Housing Industry Association NSW says the funding mostly goes towards existing, underfunded programs.
"The only commitment to build more affordable housing was through reinvestment in Landcom. This initiative is welcome but will only deliver around 1,400 homes by 2039-40," chief executive officer Mark Degotardi said.
"That is roughly 80 affordable homes a year, at a time when the unmet housing need in NSW stands at over 220,000 homes."
On Saturday, the state government announced the 2023-24 budget would include a $224 million Essential Housing Package, with funding for temporary housing, more funding for specialist homelessness services to respond to growing demand, and money to accelerate the delivery of social and affordable homes by funding initial land and site works.
Before Treasurer Daniel Mookhey handed down the budget, Ms Winks said the funding mostly allowed existing programs and services to continue.
"While these programs are essential, this level of funding will not deliver the additional supply of social and affordable homes that is required," Ms Winks said.
"Across NSW there are 56,000 households on the social waitlist, almost 4000 of them are in the Illawarra Shoalhaven.
Ms Winks said Tuesday's budget was an opportunity for the government to make the most of recent federal government initiatives and "build on this momentum".
Last week, it was announced that the federal government had struck a deal with the crossbench that would allow the $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund (HAFF) to pass parliament.
"Providing social and affordable housing makes social and economic sense, and we hope that this opportunity is realised through additional announcements as part of the budget on Tuesday," Ms Winks said.
Diane Manns, chief executive officer of Supported Accommodation and Homelessness Services Shoalhaven Illawarra (SAHSSI) said the package was positive, but especially so in conjunction with the HAFF.
Ms Manns was particularly pleased about the $35 million set aside for critical maintenance of social housing and said the $70 million for the accelerated delivery of social housing was a "really great thing".
"We need more stock. Homelessness is at a crisis point, so we very much welcome this," she said.
Of the $5.9 million for specialist services like SAHSSI, Ms Manns said the funding was "a start" but services across the state needed more.
She said it was encouraging to see homelessness higher on the government's agenda.
The Community Housing Industry Association (CHIA) NSW has welcomed the package, but CEO Mark Degotardi has also called for greater measures to address housing issues.
"To quote Premier Minns himself; we have a housing crisis that needs urgent attention," Mr Degotardi said.
"Urgent attention means serious investment from our state government to build the social and affordable homes people in NSW desperately need."
Housing Minister Rose Jackson said the funding was "a step in the right direction".
"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," Ms Jackson said.
The Essential Housing Package will include a $70 million financing facility to accelerate the delivery of social and affordable homes, mostly in regional areas, by funding initial land and site works.
It also includes $35 million for housing services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander residents, $35 million for critical maintenance for social housing, and $20 million for dedicated mental health housing.
Priority housing and homelessness measures will receive $15 million, while $11.3 million will continue the Together Home program in 2023-24, an initiative that supports people sleeping rough to get into stable accommodation.
There will be $11 million over the next year for temporary accommodation for people who are vulnerable and $5.9 million for specialist homelessness services to respond to growing demand
There is also an extra $10.5 million for the Community Housing Leasing program, and $10 million for a modular housing trial to deliver social housing faster.
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