Affordable Housing needs a re-brand

While Sydney's population continues to grow, particularly from international immigration, in 2013/14 we saw a mass migration loss of around 15,000 people out of Greater Sydney into Melbourne, regional Victoria and regional NSW. Housing affordability is a major cause of people leaving our city and increasing individual and family risk of homelessness.

While it is important to look at incentives and controls to increase affordable housing, we also need to look at at educating our communities on what affordable housing actually is, who rents affordable housing, how it is managed, and the benefits it brings to the local community and economy. As the recent protests in Cromer demonstrated, there is considerable misinformation and stigma within communities about what affordable housing is, and who "new generation" boarding houses actually house. Most boarding houses built now cost about the same to rent as a studio apartment in that neighbourhood, e.g. a "new generation" boarding house in Annandale rents for around $350 a week - not necessarily even that affordable for many.

Affordable housing and boarding houses need new branding - perhaps a new name - and community education to stop communities protesting and blocking their approval based on prejudice and misinformation. Good community engagement and social impact analysis upfront, partnering with a community housing manager, is also another positive step  in helping to get affordable housing proposals approved by local Councils.

image source: Sydney Morning Herald

image source: Sydney Morning Herald