Housing standards in Australia have slipped behind the rest of the world. But momentum is growing to revive past ambitions to build the best homes we can.
The problem with most public housing ‘renewal’ programs is that the residents have the least say in what happens to the places they call home. The evidence of housing research is also being ignored.
Although the federal-state agreement does it inadequately and lacks transparency, an enduring program of federal funding for operational expenses is essential to sustain the social housing system.
Any attempt to improve security for tenants should not deprive them, or their landlords, of the flexibility that many also want. The key problem is landlords’ ability to give notice without a reason.
Weak state policies, which lack clear targets and mechanisms for providing more and better affordable housing, are part of the problem. Victoria still doesn’t have an affordable housing strategy.
Generation Rent may force a complete rethinking of home ownership as a basis of our housing systems. Rather than representing security, these housing markets make us vulnerable.
Housing affordability is often not the only problem households face. More often the compounding effects of multiple problems leave people unable to cope, which is why one solution won’t work for all.
To tout new housing production as the only solution to rising house prices, without examining the question of demand, is an ineffective policy position.
Shared ownership schemes can unlock access to suitable housing, although these are less common in Australia than overseas. And most are not specifically tailored for people with disability.