Frequently Asked Questions
Below you can see the most often asked questions. Click on the + icon on the right hand side to see the answer.
If you have a question that is not covered here please send your query about the package to firstname.lastname@example.org
What is Unlock Housing?
Unlock Housing is a campaign that was launched in the run up to the March 2021 WA state election, which presents a united voice urging government to unlock the potential of all West Australians. Led by Shelter WA, the Unlock Housing Coalition is a broad partnership representing more than 20 organisations, developed with industry and people with lived experience of homelessness and housing stress.
What are you calling for?
The Unlock Housing coalition are united behind three core priorities that address the housing shortage and set us up for a bright housing future. We are calling on the WA Government to adopt our three asks:
- Invest in Social and Affordable Housing
- Fix the Housing System, and
- End Homelessness
Are we really having a ‘housing shortage’?
Despite a decade of record prosperity, more Western Australians than ever are finding themselves struggling to find a place to call home. More than 9,000 Western Australians are experiencing homeless, including 1000 sleeping rough every night. The number of people on the waiting list for social housing has risen to 16,949 households. WA renters are facing unprecedented difficulty trying to find a home, which was made worse when the moratorium on rent increases and evictions ended in March 2021.
Aren’t we already spending a lot on social housing?
WA has a world class homelessness strategy which needs homes to deliver Housing First outcomes and to end homelessness – the WA Housing Strategy 2020-2030 has a current target of 260 social homes per year over the next ten years- this will not meet current and future demand.
Recent one-off announcements about delivering an additional 870 social homes were warmly welcomed but more homes are needed. Over the last three years social housing has decreased by 1,155 properties. Interim solutions are important to get people off the streets – but we are putting people into hotels and hostel accommodation because we don’t have enough social homes.
How is it possible to deliver 18,000 new homes in four years given the current construction boom?
It’s true there is a building boom in WA right now, largely driven by state and commonwealth home builder stimulus grants. However, data from the Housing Industry Forecasting Group notes that dwelling starts in WA are expected to remain below WA’s long-term average of 22,000 for the foreseeable future, with a forecast to approximately 18,500 dwelling commencements in 2020-21. As the focus shifts from first homebuyers we have the capacity to plan for and ramp up the construction of new social and affordable housing supply. In the interim supply can be increased through a targeted response including spot purchases, conversion of vacant commercial and government buildings, modular technology and government retaining homes that were developed for market sale for social housing supply.
Can we afford to build more social housing?
Delivering appropriate housing and services at the scale needed will require short and long term significant investment.
The Pre Election Unlock Housing package proposes $4 billion over four years – we have put forward a range of pragmatic ways that would reduce the direct cost to the state government to $2.6 billion, through co-funding models that unlock investment from other sources including institutional investors, and harness the innovation and capacity of WA’s community housing sectors.
The great news is that investing in social housing and homelessness services actually saves millions each year in health and emergency services.
How will it impact the economy?
Housing construction and investment in direct services is one of the best forms of economic stimulus and recovery available. In addition to ending homelessness and rental stress, our package will also create over 32,000 new jobs. With targeted employment strategies it could also create new opportunities for people whose employment has been impacted by COVID-19 and those who are traditionally disadvantaged in employment markets including young people, women, people living with disabilities and First Nations People. A new focus on building conversions will also drive innovation and diversification in the building sector.