Housing boost is needed: group

Housing stress high in Bendigo region

VICTORIA needs a major investment in public housing as home affordability is increasingly strained, according to a new report.

Seven peak bodies concerned with housing affordability released a document on Wednesday calling for change.

The Making Social Housing Work document calls for $200 million to be spent on new public housing each year for 20 years.

Public housing stock should be moved to community housing to introduce new revenue, and some tax assistance for home owners and investors directed to building new homes, the report says.

According to the Victorian Council of Social Services, Bendigo has a rental stress rate of 39 per cent, with those households spending 30 per cent or more of their income on housing costs.

If we do nothing, we’ll have more people homeless. - Emma King

In Bendigo, 4.7 per cent of households are social housing, according to the group. VCOSS chief executive Emma King said there was a dire need for improvements to the system.

“While Bendigo has a train line going direct to Melbourne, the reality is people on the outer fringes of Bendigo often have issues in terms of accessing transport, which impacts on jobs and their ability to get to services in a timely manner,” she said.

“It is dire, otherwise we wouldn’t be asking for $200 million a year.

“If I was a minister I’d say that was a huge cost, but while some of what we outlined comes at a cost, that could be offset by savings.

“If we do nothing, we’ll have more people homeless and more people accessing expensive services.”

A spokeswoman for Minister for Housing Wendy Lovell said the government was spending $1.5 billion over five years to save 9500 properties. 

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