Under the leadership of the Clover Moore Independent Team, the City of Sydney was the first local council to establish a dedicated homelessness unit.
The City also took action to increase the supply of affordable housing in our city, through the use of levies, discounted sale of land and rezoning.
We have been fighting for the residents of the Waterloo Estate, to protect their homes and ensure any redevelopment of the site significantly increases the amount of social and affordable homes. Together with the Lord Mayors of Australia’s capital cities, we’ve taken the fight for more affordable housing to Canberra and are working to end homelessness and ease rental stress.
Sydney is facing a housing and homelessness crisis.
Over the past 10 years, rents in the city have risen by 70 per cent, and home prices by 65 per cent. Over 80 per cent of people in our community on moderate to low income households are suffering housing stress.
It is a myth that supply alone will solve the problem. Despite record development levels ($25 billion over the last 12 years) prices have not come down – and less than one per cent of housing in the city can be classed as “affordable” and not one home in the city is affordable for someone on a Newstart allowance.
We cannot allow our city to become an enclave for the rich. Our city’s diversity hinges on the ability of people to be able to afford to live and work in the city. It’s also essential that key workers - like paramedics, police officers and teachers live close to their place of work. We don’t want to keep pushing the people who make up the fabric of our city to the fringes.
We are committed to providing and supporting the creation of more affordable housing in our city where possible. To date, the City has supported the delivery of 835 new affordable housing dwellings – there is an additional 423 dwellings with a DA lodged, approved or under construction, and a further 533 dwellings in the pipeline that have not yet reached DA stage.
We use the affordable housing levy in order to collect money from private developments in our city that can be used to deliver new housing. We also sell land at discounted rates to community housing providers and provided $1.5 million to Hammond Care for a subsidised residential aged care development for the homeless, and $3 million towards the establishment of an affordable housing project for homeless youth in Chippendale.
Although we do not have legislative responsibility in relation to homelessness, the City has a number of staff and policies dedicated to helping those who are homeless in our city. We were the first council in Australia with a Homelessness Unit, which works to connect rough sleepers with essential services, working in partnership specialist services in hotspot areas such as Woolloomooloo, Belmore Park and Wentworth Park.
Over the next three years, the City will invest $6.6 million in homeless services. This includes $3.5 million for the NSW Government’s own Department of Community and Justice. We also hold two street counts a year to determine where best to direct services in our city, and understand patterns of homelessness and rough sleeping. In the last financial year, services funded by the City helped more than 280 people into supported housing and prevented 182 young people from becoming homeless.