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Home In Place submission to the People’s Commission into the Housing Crisis


Home In Place


The People’s Commission into the Housing Crisis provides a platform for everyday people and organisations to share their stories of housing insecurity. The testimony will culminate in a series of recommendations to fix Australia’s housing crisis.

Home in Place’s submission provides insights into the housing crisis, its flow-on effects, and the steps that governments can take to solve the crisis. Here is a summary of the main points.

The top three impacts our clients report experiencing as a result of the housing crisis
  • Homelessness
  • Inability to secure social and affordable housing
  • Financial stress
The top three secondary impacts our clients report experiencing as a result of the housing crisis
  • Mental stress or ill-health
  • Physical insecurity or ill-health
  • Forgoing meals, medications or other essential services.

People are struggling to access affordable and suitable housing

People grappling with the challenge of finding or sustaining affordable and suitable housing endure a relentless daily struggle that permeates every aspect of their lives. A substantial portion of their income is swallowed up by rent or mortgage payments, leaving little for necessities such as food, healthcare, utilities and education.

For low-income renters, the options available are frequently limited, pushing many into neighbourhoods lacking in amenities and far from employment opportunities. Those unable to secure a place of their own experience additional challenges such as overcrowding with friends or relatives or living in makeshift or improvised dwellings.

The emotional and psychological toll of housing insecurity is profound. It disrupts lives and fractures community ties, particularly for children.

The flow-on impacts of the housing crisis in the context of Home In Place’s work

The provision of adequate housing, alongside health and education, is a prerequisite for a healthy and flourishing society. Over the past 40 years, Australia’s public policy commitment to housing as a human right and a fundamental focus of responsible governments has been replaced by a view that housing is, first and foremost, a vehicle for wealth creation. Decades of poor policy have created one of the least affordable and most unequal housing markets in the world.

This has had a deep and scarring impact on almost every aspect of Australian society. The most concerning impacts are:

  • the risk to Australia’s retirement system
  • more demand on an already overloaded social housing system
  • increased household debt and broader economic stagnation
  • increased wealth inequality.

Current policy settings are impacting housing affordability and access to housing

There has been a continual decline in the share of housing stock delivered by the government. AHURI research has identified a shortfall of 730,000 social housing homes over the following 20 years. This amounts to an annual increase of some 5.5% on current social housing stock.

The proposed Housing Australia Future Fund target of 40,000 social housing homes over the next five years pales into insignificance. A significant scaling up of current proposals is required to meet the crisis facing those in the private rental sector, those unable to realise their ambition to buy a property and, most critically, those languishing on social housing waiting lists.

The residualisation of social housing stock has left a growing share of low-income households navigating the private rental market where they face stiff competition for the limited supply of affordable properties. Competition in the private rental market is also being amplified by rapid population growth driven by high levels of overseas migration.

On the supply side, the lack of a consistent framework for the regulation of short-stay rental platforms has resulted in certain markets seeing a significant share of former rental stock being converted into tourist accommodation.

At the Commonwealth level policy has consistently favoured home ownership as the preferred housing market mechanism. Currently, forgone revenues from concessional taxation of property ownership vastly outweigh the support provided to renters in the form of Rent Assistance, and social housing provision via the National Housing and Homelessness Agreement.

Monetary policy has played a role in emergence of the housing crisis. The result of the RBA’s actions over the past decade has been a sharp increase in wealth inequality and massive growth in household indebtedness.

Four steps governments can take to solve the housing crisis

  • Recognising it is a fundamental duty of governments to ensure the fundamental needs of its citizens are being met.
  • Increasing funding for social and affordable housing.
  • Recognising social housing dwellings as assets.
  • Investing in supports to make “Housing First” allocation policies fit for purpose.

Read the full submission below

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