SYC welcomes the recent call from four of Australia’s Peak Housing and homelessness bodies to boost funding for social housing and help drive a COVID-19 national economic recovery.

The peak bodies announced an ask for a $7.7bn investment from the federal government over the next three years to build 30,000 homes and $500m for the renovation of existing social housing stock.

SYC Chief Executive Officer, Paul Edginton said one of the many things the COVID-19 crisis has shone a light on is how fragile Australia’s affordable housing options are when facing an influx of demand from people who never expected to need it.

“The call to boost social housing makes sense on every level, both from employing Australians in the building industry and addressing the supply issue for affordable housing.

“If it’s true that COVID-19 is costing Australia $4b per week it puts into perspective how easily we could fix affordable housing – for the cost of 13 days of COVID we can fix the problem that has been highlighted for the last 15 years.

“The renovation of properties is a fantastic idea. It is the fastest way to create jobs now and increasing the quality for those living in those houses is a double benefit”, he said.

two young people working in construction site

SYC runs building programs where young people earn construction qualifications whilst renovating public housing stock.

Mr Edginton warns the opportunity to employ young people to help with the renovation process must not be lost.

“We know from the past that young people are disproportionately affected by downturns in the employment market.

“Teenagers experience unemployment at 3.9 times the rate of general un-employment and with unemployment projected to hit 1.5 Million by June in Australia, young people will find it even harder to compete for jobs. So, stimulus measures need to specifically target young Australians.” he said.

Mr Edginton said this is also a great opportunity to co-design housing for young people leaving care and those who have experienced homelessness.

“We built our HYPA Housing program during the last stimulus and that has now provided hundreds of young people with stable housing and a path to education and employment. In the last financial year, we saw 100% of participants avoid homelessness at the end of the program.

“SYC stands ready to build more of this housing in SA and Victoria if the opportunity arises,” he said