Housing for older women and in regional areas will be prioritised in Phase 2 of the Social and Affordable Housing Fund (SAHF) announced by the NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Tuesday. This is a welcome response to the feedback NCOSS and our members provided following Phase 1.
Building on the work of members of our New Year for Women Housing Working Group, NCOSS has lobbied the Government to respond to the growing issue of homelessness among older women. In our recent regional conferences we once again heard widespread concern for older women with little or no financial security. As NCOSS CEO, Tracy Howe, told the Sydney Morning Herald: "Men are doing it tough ... but women definitely more so. You've had caring responsibilities and interrupted life events and no superannuation. This all compounds and compounds, even for women who see themselves as middle-income earners.”
Our SAHF positioning paper also highlighted the need for a stronger regional and remote focus - advice the NSW Government appears to have taken on board. Under Phase 2 of the SAHF a further 1200 additional houses will be delivered, with the Government seeking to deliver 30% of the dwellings in regional NSW. Market sounding to engage with community housing providers, not for profit and commercial organisations will begin in October.
While we know the SAHF alone won’t solve housing affordability for people on low-incomes, this announcement is a welcome step forward and a great opportunity to keep dialogue going between our sector, investors and business.