A ‘Big Build to End Homelessness’ in Victoria should be a top priority for the new Building Victoria’s Recovery Taskforce, according to Victoria’s peak social advocacy body VCOSS.
The Treasurer, Tim Pallas, has announced the new taskforce to identify construction opportunities that assist the local economy through the COVID-19 pandemic.
“If we want to boost construction and help Victorians in need, the best way is to build more social housing,” Victorian Council of Social Service CEO Emma King said.
“A Big Build To End Homelessness would put tradies to work, stimulate the economy and put a roof over those most in need. It’s a no-brainer.”
Experts estimate Victoria needs about 6,000 new public or community housing units each year, to keep pace with demand and need. About 300 of those need to be dedicated Aboriginal housing units.
Social housing has been identified by Infrastructure Australia as a key piece of nation building infrastructure. For every 100 units of housing we build roughly 80 construction jobs and 30 ongoing jobs will be created.
On current figures, about 25,000 Victorias are homeless on any given night and about 100,000 are waiting for public or community housing.
And Ms King warned those figures pre-date the pandemic, so the real situation is likely to be much worse.
“We had a housing and homelessness crisis before COVID-19 and it’s even worse now.
“Building more social housing is a critical way to address that crisis, while also boosting the economy.”
VCOSS notes the Taskforce’s terms of reference include ‘advising on initiatives that further expand social housing options’. We welcome this inclusion.