FUNDING AFFORDABLE HOUSING
SAFE AS HOUSES INVESTMENT INITIATIVE
Australia's social housing system is buckling under increasing pressure from growing demand and chronic underinvestment. The Greens believe it's time to harness the innovative and responsible funding mechanisms available in other counties including the UK, USA, France, Canada, Austria and the Netherlands that provide a stable and cost effective way of funding social housing and growing the affordable housing sector.
SAFE AS HOUSES INITIATIVE
The Greens' proposal for "Safe as Houses" Affordable Housing Supply Bonds demonstrates that a relatively modest federal government investment of $25 million could raise $2 billion in bonds each year — enough to finance the construction of up to 7,200 new social and affordable rental homes every year.
In Western Australia this would translate to a new stream of finance worth $200 million a year - enough to build more than 700 new social and affordable rental homes every year.
Bonds are a straightforward, long term financial instrument. Affordable housing supply bonds are designed to reduce the cost of funding available for community housing providers, which enhances their capacity to increase the supply of affordable rental housing. The bonds would be attractive to retail and institutional investors through a mix of tax incentives and government guarantees.
Based on the proposal developed by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute, the Greens bonds scheme would introduce three different types of bonds, targeting different types of investor.
An independent financial intermediary, the Australian Affordable Housing Finance Corporation, would also be established to further develop the proposal in consultation with all relevant stakeholders, including government, and would have responsibility for issuing the bonds and loans as part of the scheme.
Business as usual will not fix the gaps in the social housing system - currently there are 225,000 families on the waiting lists nationally. It's economically and socially responsible to invest in an adequate supply of affordable rental housing — we now need national leadership to explore this fully costed, safe and innovative option.
Authorised by Jess McColl & Trish Cowcher, the Greens (WA), Ground Floor 445 Hay St Perth