Study find strong leadership needed to ensure affordable housing

Strong political leadership, a whole-of-industry approach to consultation and implementation, and effective communication with stakeholders is essential if state and territory government initiatives to increase affordable housing supplies are to be successful, a study has found.

The Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) study examined two state-level strategies (the Western Australian Affordable Housing Strategy and the ACT Affordable Housing Action Plan) and two state-level programs – the NSW Asset Vesting Program and the East Kimberley Transitional Housing Program.

How the two state governments used innovation to deliver affordable housing was a key focus of the AHURI study. It noted that “an environment of limited funding has forced state governments to develop new ways of delivering a supply of affordable housing across the housing continuum”.

“Affordable housing is more than public housing,” the report said, “and many state governments have recognised this fact and implemented schemes to deliver housing primarily for households across the bottom two income quintiles."

Of all the elements examined in the study, AHURI said “It is clear that leadership is the most important”.

And it noted that “A key lesson from both the NSW program and parts of the ACT strategy was the difficulty in sustaining the housing outcomes after the original political champion(s) had moved on.

“The most enduring outcomes are associated with elements of the strategy with short time horizons or that required a long-term agreement with a third party that was difficult to unwind. Programs where there was no bureaucratic consensus on direction and purpose were most at risk [of not meeting expectations].”

The report is available here.

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