The current social housing shortage in NSW necessitates an examination of innovative solutions to provide additional housing for those in need. The NSW government has introduced Housing 2041, a strategy for better housing outcomes in NSW, and continues to invest in social housing. However, with over 50,000 applicants on the social housing wait list and with a wait of up to 10 years, there is still a need for additional social housing solutions. This committee report recommends that the NSW government continues to increase investment in the provision and maintenance of public and social housing to address the critical shortage of housing options.
The Committee found that both temporary and long-term housing are needed to address the social housing shortage. They found that meanwhile use, also known as temporary supportive accommodation, can be a useful solution in the short-term. Meanwhile use is the temporary use of vacant or underused buildings to meet social or community need. To ensure meanwhile use can be safely and effectively implemented, the committee recommends that the NSW government develops a framework to guide meanwhile use, which would include important factors such as suitability of the property, support services for tenants, minimum timeframes, types of buildings, conversion costs and factors and local community consultation.
The inquiry also found that community housing providers (CHPs) have the capacity to provide more social housing including wraparound support and that they can provide cost-effective social housing.