Federal and state governments outline plans to address housing affordability

The federal government says its housing affordability plan revealed in this year’s budget will improve outcomes for the people most in need, while the state government says its Homes for Victorians strategy will address many issues.

The Bendigo Advertiser reported last week the latest Rental Affordability Agreement indicated that single people on pensions, on Centrelink or with children and working part-time could not afford to rent in Bendigo, while the number of people facing homelessness was always growing.

In July the federal government will introduce what it says is a key element of its affordability plan, the $1.5 billion National Housing and Homelessness Agreement, which will replace existing agreements.

“The NHHA will seek to ensure that states and territories have in place credible housing and homelessness strategies, as well as provide better and more comprehensive reporting to increase transparency and accountability of housing and homelessness funding,” a Department of Social Services spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson from Victoria’s Department of Health and Human Services said there were a number of Homes for Victorians initiatives in play in the region.

“From March 2017 to the end of June, the $33 million Private Rental Assistance Program helped more than 40 people take up private rental tenancies in the Loddon area,” they said.

The spokesperson said the Rapid Housing Assistance Fund had provided 15 homes in the Greater Bendigo area.

Haven; Home, Safe is one of eight organisations in Victoria that received state government funding for new accommodation for people at risk of or experiencing homelessness.

The DSS spokesperson said Victoria would receive $368.2 million through the National Affordable Housing Agreement and an agreement on homelessness in 2017-18.

At September 30, 2017, there were 236 dwellings in Greater Bendigo under the National Rental Affordability Scheme, which commenced in 2008 and offers incentives for housing providers to provide affordable rental dwellings.