Budget 2018 – Housing investment is essential

Media Release Thursday 14th June 2018

Shelter Tas, Tasmania’s peak body for housing and homelessness services, welcomes the State Government’s recognition of the housing crisis in Tasmania by bringing forward $25m, and the recommitment of funds for Tasmania’s Affordable Housing Strategy Stage II.

“Achieving positive outcomes in areas such as health and education depends on people having safe and secure homes. Investment in affordable housing is essential for Tasmania’s community and economy”, Ms Chugg said.

“Tasmania is confronting a housing crisis, we see it in the media daily, and community concern has never been higher. To solve the problem, we need even more money brought forward and our public housing debt retired”, Ms Chugg said.

The recent Rental Affordability Index showed escalating levels of unaffordable rents across Tasmania, with Hobart topping the list as the least affordable capital in the nation. Over 8,000 low income households are experiencing rental stress, and over 3,500 households are still on the social housing waiting list. The lack of affordable and safe housing is the biggest cause of homelessness, and we know that homelessness is increasing. On any given night over 1,600 Tasmanians have no place to call home.

“We know the solution to homelessness and housing stress is more affordable housing. Tasmania needs to build at least 150 additional affordable rental homes every year above the current Affordable Housing Strategy commitments. Investment in affordable housing is investment in Tasmania’s future”, Ms Chugg said.

Shelter Tas’ budget submission called for increased investment in housing for young people. Young people are the fastest growing group experiencing homelessness. Over half of all people seeking assistance from homelessness services last year were under 25. One in five requests for assistance involve children under 10 years old.

“Shelter Tas welcomes the continuation of funding for the Mums ‘n’ Bubs program run by Karinya Young Women’s Service in Launceston to support young Tasmanian families”, Ms Chugg said.

Older Tasmanians are also an increasing group of people experiencing homelessness – nearly 1 in 5 homeless people are older than 55. We look forward to seeing increasing support for older people through Stage II of Tasmania’s Affordable Housing Strategy.

Repayment of the historic housing debt to the Commonwealth continues to be a drag on the State’s capacity to deliver affordable housing. This year, repayments to the Federal Government have taken over $15 million out of the State’s resources for housing.

“Shelter Tas calls for this burden to be shared across all of government, not just the housing portfolio. Retirement of this historic housing debt would enable much needed capital investment in affordable housing, which we need now more than ever”, Ms Chugg said.

“The housing crisis places ever increasing pressure on workers in the housing and homelessness sector. We will continue to work with the Housing Summit Working Group and Tasmania’s Affordable Housing Strategy and Action Plan to ensure the specialised housing and homelessness workforce is well placed to meet these increasingly complex needs”, Ms Chugg said.

About Shelter Tasmania:

Shelter Tasmania is the state housing and homelessness peak body, working to ensure that low-income and disadvantaged Tasmanians have affordable, safe, secure and appropriate homes. For more information, please see Shelter Tas’ State Budget Submission 2018-19 and our Priorities for 2018.

For more information and comment, contact:

Pattie Chugg
Shelter Tas, Executive Officer
E: eo@sheltertas.org.au
M: 0419 536 100