A non-profit think tank has come up with a simply splendid proposal to bring down house prices and provide affordable housing to those who are homeless or in low-income jobs, so here’s why it would be brilliant if it was actually turned into policy.

Melbourne think-tank Grattan Insitute has come up with an argument for what it calls the ‘Social Housing Future Fund’, a plan which it deems will create thousands of social homes every year and help out low-income Australians across the country.

It seems pretty fkn good because it is, though as it stands the proposal is still in the early stages. And of course, there’s no current indication from the federal government to ever enact such a scheme. A fund to help everyone get a chance at housing? Under this government? Don’t be ridiculous.

In layman’s terms, the Social Housing Future Fund is a proposed $20 billion social housing scheme that aims to eventually rake in returns of around 4-5% every year. This roughly adds up to $900 million in earnings which can be pumped back into more homes. As the Grattan Institute puts it, that’s “3,000 extra social housing units a year in perpetuity.”

“If it was set up in 2022-23, the fund could build 24,000 social housing dwellings by 2030, and 54,000 by 2040,” Grattan Insitute’s Economic Program Policy Director Brendan Coates told the ABC.

And then on top of this, there is room for the state governments to provide more funding as they see fit, which will only increase the amount of social housing available to Aussies across the country.

“If matched state funding was forthcoming, the future fund could provide 6,000 social homes a year — enough to stabilise the social housing share of the total housing stock,” said Coates.

“It would double the total social housing build to 48,000 new homes by 2030, and 108,000 by 2040.”

A recent report into social housing conducted by the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) reveals that we are in fact falling short when it comes to supply and demand.

The report finds that over 400,000 low-income households are in need of affordable housing, while 155,000 households are on social housing waiting lists all over Australia.

When you consider that Vic, Qld, Tassie and WA are currently investing $10 billion into 23,000 new homes, with 430,000 homes currently in existence (and fully occupied), you start to realise how far from the target we are, even with work being done.

“The situation for those on the waiting list for social housing feels increasingly hopeless, as individuals and families struggle to keep a roof over their heads in the face of rising private market rents or are forced to stay in circumstances that are not healthy or safe,” ACOSS Chief Executive Cassandra Goldie said in a statement.

Grattan Institute and ACOSS are currently urging the federal government to consider the Social Housing Future Fund, as well as boost Commonwealth Rent Assistance. With both these in place, we might finally be able to see some affordable housing around here.

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