MEDIA RELEASE: 231 new social houses a step in the right direction, but the road to enough social homes is long

September 19, 2023

Per Capita welcomes the news that the Victorian and Federal Governments have hammered out a deal to build 231 new social housing units in Carlton, replacing 191 social dwellings that were no longer fit for habitation. Victoria’s $496 million share of the $2 billion Social Housing Accelerator should result in a total of 769 new social housing units. However, while this is undoubtedly welcome news, it is still a small step on a long road to enough social housing for the state.

Victoria has the lowest proportion of social housing of any state or territory, and a 2019 government commissioned report found that the state needed to build 1700 social homes per year just to maintain the current position. To meet the needs of lower income renters, the state needs to build 3400 per year, increasing our long-term social housing stock by 60,000 over the next two decades.

Governments are beginning to see that housing all Australians is core government business, after decades of hoping that the market might somehow fix things for everyone. This is an extremely heartening development, but investment will need to go a lot further before governments can say that their policies are matching the scale of the problem we face in housing.

Quotes attributable to Matt Lloyd-Cape, Director of the Centre for Equitable Housing, an initiative at the think tank Per Capita:

“These 231 new social housing units are desperately needed, and the investment in social housing by state and federal governments is welcome news. However, we will need to see far more investment to ensure that all Victorians have a secure and affordable roof over their heads.”

“The investment pipeline for social housing needs to be formalised under new state-commonwealth agreements which provide long-term ambitious targets for our social housing stock.”

“In the past, around a quarter of renters lived in social housing, limiting their housing costs to 25% of their income. That figure is now down to around one in every eleven renters. Social housing is the best form of rent control, so every effort in state and federal parliament should be directed at ensuring that all low-income renters can find a secure and affordable home.”

For media enquiries, contact Matt Lloyd-Cape: 0468 321 799