Launch Housing welcomes funding certainty for homelessness

Launch Housing CEO Tony Keenan has today welcomed the Commonwealth Government’s Budget announcements on homelessness and affordable housing.

“In particular we are very pleased with the Government’s decision to ensure that funding for homelessness services is now ongoing and that it will be indexed to ensure growth.

“Over recent years the homelessness sector has struggled with funding uncertainty, we have campaigned hard to ensure that the Commonwealth has understood just how vital this funding is for our services  –  it is reassuring that they have heard us. This announcement provides much needed certainty and the decision to index these payments ensures that we are better able to meet demand for our services,” said Mr Keenan.

There are also a range of innovative measures that should have a positive impact on the supply of affordable housing.  These include:

  • A new Housing Finance Corporation which will establish a bond aggregator – making finance less expensive for community housing providers
  • The establishment of a new land register to ensure that government land can be used for affordable housing
  • An increased capital gains tax discount for those who invest in affordable housing
  • A vacancy tax for housing (owned by non-residents) that is vacant for more than 6 months
  • A $1billion Housing Infrastructure Facility to encourage infrastructure projects that support affordable housing.

Mr Keenan welcomed these initiatives as a first start but said that much more needed to be done to increase housing for those in greatest need.

“Housing needs to be truly affordable for those on the very lowest incomes such as Pensions and Newstart.  As a homeless provider we struggle to find single person dwellings that are affordable to people on Centrelink benefits and the supply of affordable housing must increase for these groups. We are happy to advise the Government on the implementation of these measures to ensure that affordable housing is targeted at the most needy.

“While these measures don’t tackle some of the structural drivers of high housing prices, such as negative gearing and the capital gains tax discount, they are nevertheless welcome,” Mr Keenan added.