The construction of 30,000 social housing dwellings to reduce homelessness and generate jobs has been put forward as one of the strategies towards economic recovery post Covid-19.
Australian Council of Social Services says coronavirus related restriction measures have exposed the scale of homelessness and rough sleeping in Australia, as both social and health problems.
As part of its five proposals towards economic recovery post Covid-19, the peak body for the community services sector advocates a $7 billion public investment to construct 30,000 social housing dwellings.
“The ‘pipeline’ of residential construction projects from investments undertaken during the housing boom is declining,” ACOSS chief executive Cassandra Goldie said.
“This means skilled labour and materials are more likely to be available for social housing construction.
“We can create thousands of jobs and reduce homelessness through a public infrastructure program to build social housing.”
As state governments are beginning to take their first steps towards easing some of Covid-19 restrictions, the construction and property sectors have been earmarked as central to progressing Australia’s economic recovery.
It was revealed on Tuesday the New South Wales government is considering more than $500 million in social housing stimulus, as it announced it would fast-track 24 shovel ready projects in a $7.5 billion economic injection.
The $500 million stimulus spend would help address the state’s housing issues, issues that existed before the pandemic.
This includes a shortfall of 200,000 social and affordable homes and more than 60,000 households on the social housing waitlist.
Community Housing Industry Association NSW Mark Degotardi says the $500 million plan, from the Land and Housing Corporation, would address “years of underspending” on social housing in the state.
The Grattan Institute estimates that up to 26 per cent of employees would have lost their jobs by the end of June as a restult of Covid-19 related restriction measures.
Federal Treasury estimates unemployment could reach 10 per cent by June, although if businesses are able to retain employees on lower hours, RBA governor Philip Lowe said he is “hopeful it might be lower than this”.
The Grattan research shows the impact of Covid-19 is felt disproportionately on lower income earners, on those who will struggle to re-establish their careers and incomes as the economy recovers, largely people in low-paid and insecure jobs, “mainly young people and women, of whom around a third are expected to lose their jobs”.