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New economic modelling has highlighted the severe economic shock expected from COVID-19, while also revealing the social and economic benefits from a social and affordable housing-led recovery.The forecast drop in international migration will translate to reduced demand for housing of 38,500 units over 2020 and 2021.

  • As a result, up to 85,000 jobs are at risk in the residential construction sector across NSW over the next 18 months.
  • 97,000 SMEs dependent on residential construction are at risk of not reopening their doors in NSW without additional investment.
  • Rising unemployment is projected to increase homelessness by between 7,905 and 16,140 people in NSW.
  • Over 2,000 people experiencing homelessness have been accommodated in hotels and motels across NSW during the pandemic – with no longer-term solution announced.

The report demonstrates that investment in social and affordable housing can play a critical role in supporting jobs and protecting the most vulnerable across NSW.

Conducted by Equity Economics, on behalf of NCOSS, Homelessness NSW, Community Housing Industry Association, Shelter NSW and the Tenants’ Union of NSW, the report provides the NSW Government with the economic case for investing in social and affordable housing.

The new modelling estimates that constructing 5,000 additional social and affordable housing units would support 18,000 construction jobs across NSW.

This will deliver short-term stimulus to the residential construction sector and household wealth, and long-term benefits through improved housing security, health and economic participation.

The modelling also estimates that a $500 million investment in repairs and maintenance of social housing stock has the potential to support 4,200 jobs across the state.

Finally, the modelling explores the option for the NSW Government to acquire existing stock to meet the immediate housing needs of the NSW homeless population, who are at increased risk from the pandemic.

Acquiring properties in turnkey or ‘scaffold ready’ developments that are at or near completion is one possible option for the Government to consider.

NCOSS CEO, Joanna Quilty, said the new modelling highlights both the significant risks facing the economy and the optimum public policy responses. 

“This new modelling confirms that construction jobs are at risk, small businesses in metro and regional areas are under threat and homelessness is set to increase in NSW,” Ms Quilty said.

“This is a prime opportunity for the NSW Government to work with the community housing sector and the construction industry to invest in social and affordable housing, and support jobs, SMEs and NSW’s vulnerable citizens.”

“The NSW Government reacted quickly to help ensure that people experiencing homelessness are supported to stay healthy and well during COVID-19 by providing $34 million for hotel accommodation and rental subsidies.  This has supported over 2,000 people experiencing homelessness,” Katherine McKernan, CEO of Homelessness NSW said.

“But, due to the demand for social housing and limited options in the private rental market we urgently need further investment that provides permanent accommodation, so we don’t see people falling back into homelessness.  This new modelling points to how this can be achieved.”

“Now is the time to move from response to recovery.  This report clearly shows that investment in social housing will lead to economic growth, more jobs and stable housing for low-income families across NSW,” Mark Degotardi, CEO of CHIA said.

“The Government can act decisively, knowing that their investment will yield economic, employment and social benefits now and in the longer term.”

“Stable, secure housing is an essential need for all people - we can ensure these needs are met. We can provide jobs and genuinely affordable housing at exactly the time they are needed most,” Leo Patterson Ross from the Tenants’ Union of NSW said.

To view the Equity Economics modelling, Supporting Economic Recovery in NSW report, visit:

Media contact: Nick Trainor (NCOSS) 0407 078 138