Category Archives: Housing

Is there a Willingness to Provide a Home to the Homeless?

In the public interest.

the real issue with housing is inequality not the lack of housing. The priorities changed as government focused on business priorities over social priorities as it was considered of value.

Having been homeless for 2.5 years I have seen the prejudice and the lack of empathy. I regard home is where the heart is. So until people feel for the homeless as their own family, which may expand with these events such as fires and COVID-19, ordinary people falling into homelessness might save the lives ultimately of those who are part of the 116,000 homeless people who have not been assisted in a way that empowers rather than maintains dependency for those on welfare.

Those not on welfare are excluded no matter the plan, as they have to pay rent and when you have no money you can’t pay rent, what then?

The emergency is lack of love in my view. Economic value over shared humanity. Those that feel motivated to do something typically see profit in it. It is when they do it for nothing, they get my attention. They may say that is not practical, but I would say I am interested in those who come together, regardless of money, who see those others as themselves, that is when they end homelessness.

 
 
Loren Elliott/AAP

The need to house everyone has never been clearer. Here’s a 2-step strategy to get it done

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us our health is intimately connected to the health of the person next to us, and that everyone needs shelter. It has created unprecedented urgency about moving people who are homeless into emergency accommodation – for their health and ours. So what happens next?

Getting people into hotel and motel rooms and off the streets is a good thing, but these are stopgap measures. They don’t provide a home.


Read more: 6 steps towards remaking the homelessness system so it works for young people


The rush to shelter people before the peak of the virus has been driven by a pressing need to protect us all. As the only seven-day-a-week mobile outreach service still operating in Victoria, Launch Housing has temporarily housed 800 people, half of whom were sleeping rough. So what will happen to them and the thousands of other Australians in emergency accommodation when social-distancing restrictions ease and our world returns to something resembling normal?

Will they exit back into street homelessness to become the face of fear and stigma, while the rest of the community returns to more social activities?

A way to find homes right now

Australia has a significant but solvable homelessness problem, so let’s start solving it right now.

 
Image: AAP, Author provided

To avoid people being deposited back onto the streets, we’re asking state and territory governments to fund a rapid spot-purchasing program. The Victorian government has done it before on a smaller scale in 2016, and it worked. It’s time to do it again, but on a bigger scale and around the country.

The spot-purchasing program would fund community housing agencies to enter the property market to buy up “distressed” or cheap housing assets. These properties would be let at below market rent to people who pay 30% of their income as a social rent.

Vendors and developers would get much-needed sales and thousands of people would get a home. Taxpayers would get an enduring social benefit for years to come, as expensive nightly motel bills – without any long-term benefit – get converted to community-owned property assets.

We estimate the program would cost about A$210 million in Victoria and a similar amount in other states. It costs more to treat street homelessness than it does to fix it. So, it makes economic and social sense to put the fix in now.

This is our mirror moment. We simply can’t afford to drop people when no one is looking and attention turns elsewhere.

People in emergency accommodation can’t wait years for new housing to be built. They (and we) need those homes now while longer-term solutions are developed.

Meeting rising needs in the longer term

Many people who are not homeless have lost jobs or had their work hours cut, and are facing their first-ever brush with housing insecurity. They are struggling, paying more than 30% of their income for housing.

There was a housing crisis before this latest upheaval, and these conditions haven’t changed. Rents were too high and there weren’t enough affordable homes.


Read more: Growing numbers of renters are trapped for years in homes they can’t afford


The health and economic fallout from COVID-19 has exposed the urgent need for more homes that are cheaper to rent for people on moderate, low or no incomes.

Crucially, we are also calling for the Australian government to fast-track the building of more social and affordable housing as part of an economic stimulus package.

A national social housing stimulus package will help get people back to work, speed the recovery, give the building industry the confidence to retain more workers and put roofs over people’s heads.


Read more: Why the focus of stimulus plans has to be construction that puts social housing first


Initiatives to fund the construction of new social housing could be rolled out quickly. The industry capacity is there to do it, in partnership with the community housing sector.

The early stages of the stimulus would bring forward maintenance and new construction projects that are already on the drawing board.

By targeting locations with transport and facilities but high levels of rental stress, new social housing buildings can be built quickly and integrated well into local communities.

The stimulus should be designed to encourage new mixed housing models, including properties that are “built to rent”.

It would increase the supply of social housing for households that are homeless, or at risk of becoming so, and would stimulate the building, maintenance and construction industry.


Read more: Australia’s social housing policy needs stronger leadership and an investment overhaul


A building-led recovery

The program would build on the Social Housing Initiative that was launched in response to the 2008 Global Financial Crisis. Some 20,000 new social housing units were built throughout Australia.

This time, we think it is possible to deliver 30,000 new units. Community housing organisations could raise extra private finance to build another 5,000 homes.

We’ll need this social infrastructure more than ever after the pandemic. Rental stress and homelessness are increasing and the lack of low-price rental housing are issues we can no longer ignore.


Read more: Is social housing essential infrastructure? How we think about it does matter


The pandemic has created some very real challenges, but it also creates some unique opportunities to accelerate progress on ending homelessness, to recognise our interconnectedness and to give people the best possible protection of all – a home.


This article was co-authored by Bevan Warner, CEO of Launch Housing.

Cities Housing Crisis in the United States

This appears a similar trend in Australia.  Australia is following US policy.  Is that wise.

The loss of housing or an inability to afford a house expands inequality and the sense of dependency on rental markets.  With rental prices rising those on lower socio-economic incomes cannot afford to rent.  In Australia these prices have increased due to property speculators from China buying up new properties which lifts market prices. Moreover, developers are pulling down old housing and erecting new smart  houses and suburbs which pitches prices to those in the professional category. The housing stock availability for those on lower incomes shrinks which renders more homeless.

This quote is from below:

An unaffordable housing market is another hallmark of a housing bubble. Nationwide, the median home value is equivalent to 3.61 times the median household income. We only considered those housing markets where home values were less affordable as they are on average nationwide. Even though many cities on this list have healthy job markets and high incomes, rapidly rising real estate costs mean many residents still struggle to afford their homes.

Is it true that there are rising real estate costs or are the real estate agents charging too much?  

Exploitative lending practices highlights greed and lack of ethics, another important point.

A housing crisis can plunge people into severe poverty. It means that most of the disposable income is going in rent or mortgages.  This reflects an imbalance and exposure to strong demand that is increasing the price of property.

Cities on the Verge of a Housing Crisis

Cities on the Verge of a Housing Crisis

 
 
The American housing bubble that wreaked havoc on the global economy was a long time in the making. Largely the product of exploitative lending practices that put people in homes they could not afford, the housing market bust dragged the median American home value down by 37% — from a pre-recession high of $230,000 in the third quarter of 2005 to a post-recession low of $145,000 in the first quarter of 2011.

 

Today, with the housing collapse a decade behind us, new regulations safeguard home buyers from predatory lenders. Since the housing market crash, home prices have regained the value lost — and then some. Through the first quarter of 2019, home prices have risen by nearly 70% since the post-recession low.

While steady year-over-year growth in home value is generally considered healthy, too much growth too quickly can lead to market instability and a risk of a collapse in the long term. In some U.S. cities, home values might be climbing at a rate that could prove disastrously unsustainable.

Reviewing quarterly median home price data for 123 metropolitan statistical areas from real estate data firm ATTOM Data Solutions, 24/7 Wall St. identified 15 U.S. metropolitan areas where home prices are at least 20% higher than at their nearest pre-recession peak. In several of these cities, prices are over 50% above that level.

Prices have risen in these metropolitan areas for good reason. Most of these areas are home to growing job sectors in high-paying industries and are attracting new residents and families. Growing demand for housing can drive up home prices, and some cities on this list are also some of America’s fastest growing housing markets.

It is important to note that 24/7 Wall St. does not claim to be able to predict the presence of a housing bubble in a given market. A number of other regional factors, including interest rates, delinquency rates, and the health of specific industries in a given area, all can affect the long-term stability of housing markets. But should the nation’s unprecedented sustained economic growth hit a serious stumbling block in the coming months, some of these markets, judging from current indicators, will be among the most vulnerable.

Click here to see cities on the verge of a housing crisis
Click here to see our methodology