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Victoria needs to build 60,000 affordable homes in 10 years to solve homeless crisis

Victoria needs to build 60,000 affordable homes in 10 years to solve homeless crisis

Victoria needs to build 60,000 affordable homes in 10 years to solve homeless crisis

A recent report has called on the Victorian Government to deliver 60,000 social homes over the coming decade to tackle rising homelessness in the state.

After assessing the dire state of Victoria's housing and rental market, the state inquiry highlighted over 30 recommendations the government would need to enact to combat the rising homeless population. 

These suggestions included ending the first homeowners grant, lobbying the federal government to examine tax concessions for investment properties, and committing to building 60,000 new social house dwellings over the coming decade. 

Of these new homes, 40,000 would need to be completed by 2028. 

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"Victoria lags behind the rest of the country meeting the needs of its most vulnerable people, with the lowest proportion of total housing stock allocated to social housing in the country," the report said.

While the 2023/24 Victorian Budget included $134 million to deliver access to housing and homelessness support, tradie shortages are expected to leave the government falling short of its building targets. 

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The latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows a 6.3 per cent drop in Victorian construction industry workers between May and August this year, with 21,078 fewer tradies now living in the state.

The housing crisis has caused homelessness to rise at a staggering rate across Victoria, with the state seeing a 24 per cent overall increase over the last five years and one in two areas experiencing growth of more than 20 per cent. 

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There are almost 120,000 people waiting to be placed in Victoria’s public housing, with 30,000 people experiencing homelessness on any given night.

Community Housing Industry Association chief executive Sarah Toohey said there's "no time to waste" in building more social housing in Victoria. 

"There's a dire need for more social and affordable housing as a growing number of Victorians live through the horror housing crisis. Right now, more than 146,000 Victorian households are experiencing homelessness, housing stress or living in overcrowded housing," Ms Toohey said.

"We have long been asking the Victorian Government to build 6,000 new social housing units every year over a decade to meet demand. The inquiry's recommendation supports our call.

"The State Government's investments in social housing, including the Big Housing Build, have been life-changing for thousands of Victorians - in fact, the housing crisis would be worse without it. But clearly much more social housing needs to be built to end this crisis for good."

The inquiry also recommended enshrining the right to housing in the Victorian Charter of Human Rights, and establishing an independent rental inspector within Consumer Affairs Victoria to ensure rental properties meet legislated minimum standards.

Council to Homeless Persons CEO Deborah Di Natale welcomed the inquiry's key reforms, saying the proposed homes might only be enough to "keep up" with current demand. 

"Victoria is in the grip of a once-in-a-generation housing and homelessness crisis and does not have time to waste," said Ms Di Natalie. 

"We have to build our way out with 6,000 new public and community homes each year while reforming the broken private rental market.

"Victoria's private rental market has failed and the cost is being borne by people struggling to pay rent who are on the brink of or experiencing homelessness. These proposed reforms are a positive step in the right direction to ensure everyone has a safe place to call home."

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