Government Must Invest in Housing

The Greens say the State Government’s tough approach to finances should not be at the expense of programs and services to combat homelessness.

“Housing rental prices are spiralling out of control for low income earners putting more people at risk of homelessness,” said Greens housing spokesperson Lynn MacLaren MLC.

“It is poor financial planning to strip services in these conditions. It’s better to provide housing now rather than pick up the pieces later on. People who are experiencing homelessness are less able to hold down a regular job and are more likely to require ongoing assistance from government funded social services.”

“As private rentals are so high, there is little incentive for public housing tenants to make the transition to leave the public system.

“The State Government must invest in programs like the Convert to Rent scheme that increase availability of affordable housing,” said Ms MacLaren.

“A report by Shelter WA notes that in 2012, the WA Department of Housing managed 37,000 dwellings and community housing providers managed 7,700 dwellings in WA. However, ongoing funding commitments will see social housing continue to decrease as a proportion of overall housing supply.

“The current rental market is beyond the affordable price range of people on benefits, pensions or a minimum wage. This has led to couch surfing, homelessness and people living in their cars," said Ms MacLaren.