Recently I represented the Minister for Social Housing, Brad Hazzard at the AGM of the NSW Federation of Housing Associations, where I spoke about the NSW Government’s commitment to increasing and improving social housing supply. This is an issue close to my heart, having spent my early years living in social housing and later working on social housing policy at both the City of Sydney and Liverpool Councils.
After the speech, the Chairman of the Federation mentioned a small side project he has embarked on to change the language around social housing. Specifically he pointed out that when we talk about social housing we are not just talking about ‘stock’. We cannot lose sight of the fact that we’re talking about people’s homes.
With that in mind, today the NSW Liberal Government announced that it has delivered the first 100 new social housing homes funded through sales of heritage housing in Millers Point. To date 47 Government owned properties in Millers Point have been sold – raising almost $116 million – with each sale in Millers Point creating up to five new homes. At the same time the government has been working to relocate the few remaining tenants into near by cost effective and equitable homes.
The sale of the properties in the Millers Point precinct will generate an estimated $500 million to help finance a more sustainable social housing system to cater for a growing population.
We should all be proud to live in a state which looks after people in need, and does so in a manner which does not institutionalise poverty but seeks to break its vicious cycle. Reversing a legacy of concentrating social housing in poorly designed, often crime-ridden vertical slums is critical to that project.
The NSW Government's Media Release on the milestone can be found at: http://www.facs.nsw.gov.au/about_us/media_releases/milestone-reached-as-first-100-homes-from-millers-point-sales-completed