Local Government NSW (LGNSW) has called for increased support for social housing and for the State Government to invest in women’s economic security in recovering from the impact of COVID-19.
LGNSW President, Linda Scott, said the association was joining its Anti-Poverty Week partners in calling for the New South Wales Government to invest in supporting women in need, helping communities build back after COVID and growing the New South Wales economy through the Pink Hi-Vis Recovery campaign.
“A new Equity Economics report released today highlights the urgent need to invest in women’s economic security by building more social housing,” Cr Scott said.
“The report shows in many cases women have borne the brunt of COVID 19, with 61 per cent of job losses since May 2021 being female jobs.
“The pandemic has also exacerbated housing security for women, with almost 5,000 being forced to stay in unsafe or violent homes, or face homelessness.
“Councils have long recognised the urgency of this issue and have been advocating for the New South Wales and federal governments to take action to address the housing and homelessness crisis right across New South Wales.
“In recent months LGNSW and council submissions to the ongoing Regional Housing Taskforce have sent a loud and clear message about the need for more social and affordable housing in the regions, adding to longstanding calls for action in metropolitan areas.”
LGNSW was not alone in raising the issue, with calls coming from New South Wales Council of Social Service, Country Women’s Association, PCYC, Financial Councillors Association, Mission Australia, Older Women’s Network, Castle Disability Services and St Vincent De Paul as part of Anti-Poverty Week.
Cr Scott said the economic uncertainty was compounded by rising rental costs, with rents in regional areas rising over the past two years and properties in the cheapest quartile increasing by 13 per cent.
“Median rents for a two-bedroom home in greater Sydney take up around 65 per cent of the average income for single parents,” Cr Scott said.
“In our 2021 New South Wales Budget submission we called for the New South Wales Government to urgently invest in 5,000 social housing units, and we once again repeat this call in light of this troubling report.
“The good news is, this will not only tackle the growing housing crisis, it will stimulate the New South Wales economy, delivering $4.5 billion in economic output and almost 14,000 jobs.”
LGNSW and partnering organisations are also pushing for a long-term funding boost to domestic violence and specialist homelessness services.
“The New South Wales Government announced an additional $183 million to fast track more than 1400 new social housing properties, largely in Western Sydney and regional New South Wales, and including housing for Aboriginal families,” Cr Scott said.
“This funding is a great start, representing 400 new social housing properties in total, but much more is needed.”