Homelessness an inevitable consequence of the housing affordability crisis: Clover Moore

Homelessness an inevitable consequence of the housing affordability crisis: Clover Moore
Homelessness an inevitable consequence of the housing affordability crisis: Clover Moore


I’m deeply concerned by how many people are sleeping rough or homeless in our city.

It's not illegal for people to be homeless – for some people it’s an inevitable consequence of the housing affordability crisis in Sydney.

The City’s doing more than any other local government in the country.

Specialist homelessness services funded by the City helped more than 320 people access housing with support and prevented more than 450 people from becoming homeless last year.

But virtually all the levers of power and responsibility lie with the state government.

What we’re seeing in Martin Place is the direct consequence of decades of gutless inaction from successive State Governments.

Instead of investing in more social housing in our area, they’ve kicked people out of their homes and sold them to the highest bidder.

City staff are actively working to keep Martin Place safe and clean but we have no power to forcibly move people on – only the Police can do that.

But even if the Police were directed to do that, where does the Minister expect people to go? Putting them up in hotels for three or four nights is not an answer.

The fact is you can’t solve homelessness without housing – we need long term solutions and we urgently need the NSW Government to step up and do their bit.

Here’s three practical things the Minister and Government could do today:

  • Open Sirius and move people in – 77 homes are currently sitting empty in a building purpose built for social housing. This would immediately resolve the issue in Martin Place;
  • Support our proposal for funding for a second Common Ground development in the city – our proposal together with Mission Australia Housing and Macquarie Corporate Holdings would create 150 new affordable and social housing unit with 50 specifically designed for vulnerable homeless people; and
  • Allow the City to extend the affordable housing levy across our area.

Levies are an effective & financially feasible way to deliver affordable housing units but the City is currently only allowed a levy in Green Square (which has delivered 106 units) and in Ultimo/Pyrmont (which has delivered 445 units).

If the State Labor Government in 2009 had approved our request to extend the levy it would have funded an estimated 2000 additional affordable units by now.

Our works shows that extending the levy now could deliver up to 2000+ new affordable units across our area.

Over the next three years, the City will invest $6.6 million on homeless services which includes $3.5 million for the State Government’s Family and Community Services agency to help them do their work in Martin Place and other areas.

Clover Moore is Lord Mayor of Sydney.

Homeless Clover Moore


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