Housing Resources

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ERA Housing Resources

After data, analysis and research relating to women's housing needs? Here you will find a broad range of information relating to women, housing and homelessness in Australia.

We have assembled a collection of useful resources relating to affordable housing and homelessness. We will continue to add to this list over time, so keep checking! If you have suggestions for further inclusions, please let us know.

The resources are listed below. Beyond the resources hub, you will see a trajectory of ERA's advocacy work in this area. ERA has for a number of years been advocating at a national level for housing policy which boosts supply for low-medium income earners and takes account of the needs and experiences of women.  

Women and Housing

Housing 

 Statistics

Policies and Government Papers

 

 

 

 


 

Previous Work

Call for housing working group members

Is your organisation concerned about housing security for women? Housing security affects a wide range of women, from single mothers escaping domestic violence, to young women in low paid employment struggling in the private rental market and older women facing retirement with limited superannuation and no secure home.

ERA is looking for members to join its housing working group . The working group will provide direction and feedback on ERA’s budget submission and election campaign. Working group members will attend one face to face meeting (funded by ERA) and participate in a number of teleconferences.

If your organisation would like to nominate a representative for the group, please let Helen know at era@ywca.org.au or call on (02) 6230 5152.

 

ERA has joined the campaign 'Australians for Affordable Housing'! We're very excited to be working with a coalition of housing, welfare and community organisations campaigning to put the issue of affordable housing on the national political agenda. Together, we are advocating for Federal Government action to increase access to affordable housing.

map of Australia with crowd of people inside the map, sheltered by a house

The Australians for Affordable Housing (AAH) Campaign has released their report, Australia’s Broken Housing System, revealing the grim state of the Australian housing market for those trying to find affordable housing.

The report reveals that over the last ten years, house prices in Australia have risen by 147 percent, while incomes have only risen by 57 percent. In the last five years rents have risen at twice the rate of inflation.

On average, housing costs account for 18 percent of household spending – however over 720,000 low to middle income households pay more than 30 per cent of their income on housing, and more than 460,000 households spend more than half their income on housing costs.

Read the full ProBono News article

Read the full report Australia’s Broken Housing System

For more information on the Australians for Affordable Housing Campaign, visit www.housingstressed.org.au

 


October 2011: Research shows older women facing homeless

A combination of low savings and reduced levels of homeownership are meaning older women in Australia are facing increased risk of homelessness. That's the findings from Dr Andrea Sharam 's research report, No Home at the End of the Road,  launched in Melbourne by Victorian Minister for Housing Wendy Lovell.

The research survey of 111 women found that 58% of respondents will retire with inadequate or non-existent savings - a low capacity to save influenced by factors such as job instability, history of low and interrupted wags and unpaid caring responsibilities. The survey also suggests women frequently financially support others, further contraining their ability to save for their futures. 

The report also investigated women's responses to a new affordable housing scheme, with a community land trust based-shared equity model appealing to most of the target women.


National Social Housing Survey image

October 2011: The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare have released the National Social Housing Survey: a summary of national results.  

The survey, conducted in 2010, included both public (government) and community housing, typically targeted at low income earners, those who were previously homeless, and people who are otherwise disadvantaged in the housing market. Some key findings:

  • Respondents were more likely to be female and older than the general public and community housing population.
  • 89% were "satisfied" or "very satisifed" with living in public or community housing.
  • 90% felt more settled, and over two thirds felt they enjoyed better health.

Media release and publication on AIHW website .


What do we know about Women and Rental Housing?

Housing security is fundamental to human dignity. The degrees to which individuals and families have housing security shapes the very functionality of families, as well as the nature of and demand for Government income support programs and the effectiveness of support services provided for the frail, aged and people with a disability.

At any time, approximately one third of Australian households will be renters. They are likely to be concentrated in the bottom two income deciles regardless of family structure, and will also include young people pre-family formation, household units seeking mobility because of workforce requirements, and long-term single person units and retired persons.

 In 2006, the estimated shortfall in the supply of affordable rental housing was around 251,000 dwellings.[1] As noted in the final report of Australia's Future Tax System Review (also known as the ‘Henry Tax Review’), over the past decade large parts of Australia have experienced a lack of housing affordability and declining vacancy rates for rental accommodation.

 What do we know about women and their situation in rental markets – private, public or community based? Most housing supply data is not gender disaggregated, apart from those relevant to crisis accommodation. However, given women’s generally lower incomes than those of men (influenced by the gender wage gap, and intermittent and part-time work-force attachment as well as occupational segregation into lower income industries), it is evident that women will tend to be clustered in the lower income deciles, and presence in these is a feature of renters.

 A number of studies have found that women’s housing security and economic position tends to decline with divorce and separation:[2]

  • Women are more likely to lose home ownership as a result of separation or dissolution;
  • Women are more likely than men to experience precarious housing circumstances once their marriages have been dissolved;
  • Women with children and people over 50 are particularly prone to housing stress after marriage dissolution. Improvement in housing affordability is lower for these groups;
  • Divorced or separated women are more likely to be renting;

 Australia’s (feminised) aging population also faces struggles in securing affordable rental properties. Recent figures show that women’s superannuation balances are less than half of those of men.[3]  As a result, many women are solely or largely reliant on the Age Pension in retirement. If these women are not home owners as they enter retirement they are likely to be renters and to experience housing stress. The figures are set to increase: ABS projections (Series II) suggest that by 2026 about 907,000 people aged 75 years and over will be living alone, most of them women (685,600).[4]

National Rental Affordability Scheme

Commonwealth housing policy centres around the National Housing Affordability Agreement which includes the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS) to provide incentives to developers to construct and rent affordable housing whose tenants have access to Rental Assistance, as do those living in Community Housing.

 The Rudd Government initially committed $1 billion to the NRAS over four years to stimulate construction of up to 50,000 houses and apartments, providing affordable private rental properties. The scheme was the first major initiative to stimulate affordable rental housing for several decades. The goal was also ambitious – 50,000 properties by 2014.

Early indications showed NRAS was been slower to roll out than initially planned. However, subsidies for for more than 15,000 affordable housing units have been approved, a further 21,000 are under assessment, and applications for fourth funding round that closed on 14th December 2010 was reportedly ‘an avalanche’.

As part of a package of funding cuts to provide restoration funds in the wake of Queensland’s recent natural disasters, the Gillard Government announced cutting $264 million to the NRAS and capping the construction of properties at 35,000. Strong advocacy from housing providers, developers and investors and negotiations with the Australian Greens saw the NRAS funding restored but deferred until after 2015. This compromise was welcomed by national housing and welfare peak bodies as well as the affordable housing industry.

Currently around half of NRAS properties are operated by the not for profit or community sector, the other by commercial construction and housing rental bodies. (Government efforts to generate private investment to complement incentives through the NRAS have been less effective than hoped for). Policy permits these bodies to on-sell to other investors. The NRAS administration plans an annual data collection from renters to ensure compliance with the terms of the NRAS. NRAS administrators have conveyed a willingness to explore means of providing annual gendered data on NRAS tenancies through this compliance measure.

Next Steps

Equality Rights Alliance is collaborating with Economic Security4Women, National Rural Women's Coalition and National Foundation for Australian Women on a project to:

  • illuminate the position of women of all ages in the housing market
  • monitor trends in women’s housing security, and
  • explore options for improving access for women to affordable housing which is compliant with universal design standards as set out in the disability-friendly Liveable Housing Design standards, launched by the Federal Government in July 2010.

Given the scale of the unmet demand for affordable, accessible rental housing, and the lack of gender analysis and data related to affordable housing, the project will: 

1. Gender Analysis

Gather data, information and case studies to illuminate the position of women of all ages in the housing market.

2. Proposals to improve and expand access to affordable rental housing

There is a need to explore options to improve and expand the Commonwealth NRAS (and other schemes) which would increase development of accessible affordable rental housing and lead to increased security for long term rental arrangements. There is also a need to investigate how to generate expanded private investment to take advantage of Commonwealth NRAS incentive arrangements.

This work follows up a February 2011 workshop on affordable housing. 


[2] A Predictable Crisis, Older Women as the New Face of Homelessness, Sharam A., Swinburne Institute of Technology 2010

[3] Clare, Ross, 2008.  Retirement Savings Update.  Sydney, Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia. http://www.superannuation.asn.au/Reports/default.aspx

[4] Ibid., p. 11.

Further Reading 
Resource icon
National Strategy for Affordable Rental Housing - 2.22MB Word
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National Strategy for Affordable Rental Housing - 265kB PDF
Resource icon
Shire Of Yarra Ranges Housing Strategy Issues Paper
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Beyond the current NAHA
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Going it Alone: Single, Low Needs Women and Hidden Homelessness

Comments

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Interesting articles from Australians for Affordable Housing

If you are following ERA's Housing Project you'll be interested in two articles published by the Australians for Affordable Housing campaign, calling on the Government to address negative gearing and Capital Gains Tax discounts for investors, and highlighting some of the more ridiculous tax breaks available to landlords:

The National Times: http://www.nationaltimes.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/gearing-down...

There's nothing wrong with investing in housing, particularly if you can make a profit, but that's the problem with the current tax arrangements; they reward losses not profits and according to economist Saul Eslake, these losses costs us all about $4.5 billion a year.

ABC’s The Drum: http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/3206770.html

We have got our policy wires crossed with housing and tax in Australia. The only tax mechanism dedicated to affordable housing, NRAS, is capped at 50,000 properties, while the tax breaks provided through negative gearing and capital gains tax exemptions are unlimited

Australians for Affordable Housing is online with the website www.housingstressed.org.au, a twitter
address @housingstressed and a facebook page - check it out!

6th Australasian Housing Researchers’ Conference 2012

The Australasian Housing Researchers’ Conference is a premier conference for housing researchers in Australia and New Zealand.

Since the conference was established in 2006 it has allowed hundreds of participants to share their insights on the housing, homelessness and housing system broadly with an academic audience.

When: February 8-10 2012
Where: Adelaide, South Australia

The AHRC12 will bring to Adelaide Australasia’s brightest minds in housing research, attracting participants from a range of backgrounds, including academia, the government and non-government sectors.

The AHRC12 will be held on campus at the University of Adelaide.

The event will run over two and half days from Wednesday 8th February to Friday 10 February 2012.

October 2011: Research shows older women facing homeless

A combination of low savings and reduced levels of homeownership are meaning older women in Australia are facing increased risk of homelessness. That's the findings from Dr Andrea Sharam 's research report, No Home at the End of the Road,  launched in Melbourne by Victorian Minister for Housing Wendy Lovell.

The research survey of 111 women found that 58% of respondents will retire with inadequate or non-existent savings - a low capacity to save influenced by factors such as job instability, history of low and interrupted wags and unpaid caring responsibilities. The survey also suggests women frequently financially support others, further contraining their ability to save for their futures. 

The report also investigated women's responses to a new affordable housing scheme, with a community land trust based-shared equity model appealing to most of the target women.

ERA has joined the campaign 'Australians for Affordable Housing'

 We're very excited to be working with a coalition of housing, welfare and community organisations campaigning to put the issue of affordable housing on the national political agenda. Together, we can advocate for Federal Government action to increase access to affordable housing.

You can find out more about the campaign at www.housingstressed.org.au.

Paper on Negative Gearing from The Australia Institute

The Tax Report by ERA, National Foundation for Australian Women and supported by Economic Security4Women included an important briefing on Negative Gearing. This was prepared by The Australian Institute.

We wanted to make sure that everyone saw this briefing - our Tax Report is very comprehensive and you might not have made it to all the appendices yet!

So, have a look at this 8-page briefing on Negative Gearing, (available for download from  the ERA website, follow the link at the bottom of this message ) - and let us know what you think.

Consultation about women exiting prison and housing

Women in Prison Advocacy Network (WIPAN) has produced a Discussion Paper that outlines the issues women face in finding suitable housing when they exit prison. The paper is available here.

The aim of the paper is to generate discussion, primarily between consumers and the community service sector. It is also an opportunity for women leaving prison to identify their needs and to share these with the community service sector.
 
Appropriate housing with support to maintain a tenancy was found to be an essential foundation for women to make progress in other areas of their lives and  to reduce their risk of returning to prison.
 
Consultation will occur until early December 2011. WIPAN will consolidate the information gathered into a final report and recommendations for release early in 2012. It is hoped the final report will be a useful tool for the sector to inform their planning for new services and help develop their capacity to service the needs of women leaving prison.

Deadline for comments and/or submissions is 25 November 2011. Details of how and where to submit your comments etc are in the discussion paper, alternatively you can email WIPAN directly at info@wipan.net.au

Australian's for Affordable Housing Campaign has been launched

The Australians for Affordable Housing (AAH) Campaign has been launched with the release of the report, Australia’s Broken Housing System, which reveals the grim state of the Australian housing market for those trying to find affordable housing.

The campaign brings together more than 60 Not for Profit organisations – mostly housing and welfare organisations – calling for government reform to make it easier for Australians to put a roof over their heads.

The report reveals that over the last ten years, house prices in Australia have risen by 147 percent, while incomes have only risen by 57 percent. In the last five years rents have risen at twice the rate of inflation.

ERA has written to Australians for Affordable Housing asking to join the campaign.

Report from Anglicare on housing affordability in Sydney

ANGLICARE Sydney’s Annual State of Sydney Report for 2011 finds that “over the last decade the issues of housing affordability, housing insecurity and consequent rental and mortgage stress have emerged as significant issues for households on low incomes and at risk of marginalisation and social exclusion. Vulnerability to such insecurity is prevalent particularly among young single mothers and single women over the age of 50 who are seeking emergency relief. There are also housing insecurity issues for women who are ageing parent carers.” (Extract from the report’s executive summary.)

View more here

Tax Reform and Affordable Housing

I recently attended an excellent seminar hosted by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) on tax reform to increase affordable housing.

Like many of you, I imagine, I did worry that tax reform and housing policy might get a bit overwhelming and technical for me. But thanks to very interesting presentations and insightful panel comments, I got my head around the recommendations from the Henry Tax Review to abolish stamp duty, and concurrently reform land tax into a broad based land tax. I could also see the predicted improvements in increased affordable housing.  

For most investors, there is no incentive in the present system of land tax to invest in affordable rental housing. The reforms proposed would create a system where investing in affordable housing was more attractive to big investors - and that's what we need: superannuation funds and big investors to put dollars into affordable housing.

Visit the AHURI website to learn more about the research, or view the presentation and modelling  to see how affordable housing would improve if stamp duty was abolished and land tax reformed.

It’s not a completely new idea – Tenants Union NSW has an easy-to-read paper from 2007 on reforms on land tax

Also see the most recent edition of Insight from VCOSS with a couple of pieces on tax reform and housing from Sarah Toohey and Saul Eslake.

I’ll be sourcing more plain language documents to share on this interesting tax reform proposal. If you have anything to add on tax reform and affordable housing, ERA would love to hear from you.

Video on AHURI website

Following up on the Australian Housing and Urban Research Insitutue (AHURI) seminar on 'Affordable Housing and Tax Reform': video downloads of the presentations are now available from the AHURI website.

If you have a chance, do view these presentations. They are very informative. Especially the presentation by Professor Gavin Woods explaining reforms to Land Tax. And I would love to hear your views on his proposals. 

More on Henry Tax Review recommendations for Tax & Housing

To follow my early comments about land tax and affordable housing - here's a humorous-but-serious blog about the Henry Tax Review recommendations pertaining to housing.

NATSEM-AMP Report on Housing Affordability

Buying a house in Australia has moved from being affordable to severely unaffordable in the last 10 years. This is the key finding of the AMP.NATSEM*  Income and Wealth Report: The Great Australian Dream – Just a Dream? which examines housing affordability in Australia using two measures: housing stress, based on the proportion of income spent on housing costs like mortgage and rent; and the house price to household income ratio – the higher the ratio, the less affordable the housing.

The full report is available for download from here.

*NATSEM (National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling) is an affiliated research centre of the University of Canberra. www.canberra.edu.au/centres/natsem/

Affordable Housing and Superannuation

Thankyou for these articles. I was particularly interested in the discussion of DHA. An idea that a group of single mother's I know looked at to create a separate housing entity providor,  was to set up a supperannuation fund that women could direct monies to. The fund would invest in housing - rental and assisted ownership plans - making use of the governement affordable housing scheme etc.  As noted on the website, women often do not have alot of superannuation  - it is not going to be enough to help us significantly in retirement. Many of us would be willing to redirect the monies we do get to such a scheme without any real concern about return, but I would think that it would ultimately provide a return (perhaps the government would be willing to guarantee a return on such a super scheme). Michelle

The Housing We'd Choose - A Grattan Report

The Housing We’d Choose explores the relationship between the housing we want, and the housing we have.

The report presents original research on the housing preferences of Australians. A representative sample of over 700 residents in Sydney and Melbourne was asked to make real-world housing choices, limited by their budgets. The housing they chose was a much more varied mix than either city currently provides. In particular, the research suggests significant shortfalls of semi-detached housing and apartments in the middle and outer areas of both cities.

The second part of the report examines recent construction trends and argues that there are barriers to delivering more of the housing people say they want. These disincentives include the cost of materials and labour for buildings over four storeys, land assembly and preparation, and the risk and uncertainty of our planning systems, especially in Victoria. A subsequent Grattan report will recommend changes to the design of the housing market in order to provide people with more of the homes they say they want.

Visit the Grattan website to download a copy of the report

National Strategy for Affordable Rental Housing

On Monday 20 June, the National Policy Agenda for Affordable and Accessible Housing was launched in Canberra

Guest Speakers were Steven Lynch, National Community Banking Manger, mecu Ltd; Judy Line, CEO, Women's Housing Ltd; and Jeanette Large, CEO, Victorian Women's Housing Association.

It was a great night, with around 60 guests enjoying a drink and food, with local live music from the Sienna Aguilar Trio.

The report is now available for download, and was provided to 30 Parliamentarians, from both Government and Opposition, during our Parliamentary visits on Tuesday 21 June.

AIHW release national report

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare have released their 2009-10 national report on government-funded homelessness services:

http://www.aihw.gov.au/publication-detail/?id=10737419170

It includes information on who uses services by age and gender, parents with children as singles and as couples, and what happened after homelessness support in terms of employment, education, housing etc.

Community Housing Federation of Victoria released report

Community Housing Federation of Victoria have just released a report titled Increasing affordable housing through the Victorian community housing sector.

 The report identifies three key areas that need to be addressed in order maximise the growth of affordable housing in Victoria (these are also relevant recommendations for nationa llevel housing policy):

  • Government funding to support private investment
  • Long-term policies for land release, regional development, and supporting infrastructure development, and
  • The implementation of a national regulatory framework to reduce cross-jurisdictional barriers for growth.

The press release and report is available at http://www.chfv.org.au/Deloitte-Access-Economics-Report-Launch/