How collaboration can solve South Australia’s housing crisis
There’s an old proverb that says “in unity there is strength”, and that couldn’t be truer when it comes to tackling South Australia’s current housing crisis.
Across the state, skyrocketing market prices are putting home ownership out of reach for more and more South Australians, while the cost of most private rentals leaves low-income earners without enough money for basic needs like food, heating and clothing.
Right now, more than 6,000 people experience homelessness each night in our state, and more than 30,000 people are on the State’s social housing waiting list.
The reasons behind the housing crisis are many and varied; but the current situation has largely come about because of past government policies and a housing market gone rampant.
To address the crisis — and identify how we can provide urgent housing relief to thousands of people who are affected now, and into the future — new thinking and approaches are needed, with collaboration being key.
The role Believe Housing Australia plays
For more than 20 years, Believe Housing Australia has been providing social and affordable housing and tenancy services. We own or manage more than 2,100 homes and support over 4,000 tenants.
Our tenants are mainly people on low incomes, including people who have experienced homelessness, young and older people, First Nations people, people with disability and mental health issues, survivors of domestic violence, and people from non-English speaking backgrounds.
This means we’re uniquely placed to share important insights into the realities faced by South Australians in need, as well as the challenges of housing our most vulnerable.
Together with other housing providers, we play a vital role in creating a healthy, functioning multi-provider housing system, where supply of social and affordable housing is increased, and the reach and efficiency of support is extended.
But we can’t do it alone.
As outlined in our recently commissioned report, ‘Beyond the Housing Crisis – A Home for All’, we’re focused on leading collaborative discussions to help inform the systemic change that is so badly needed.
A collaborative vision
South Australia was once a world leader in the provision of social housing — and it’s time for us to find a way to lead again, says Michelle Gegenhuber, Believe Housing Australia’s Executive General Manager.
“We need a coordinated, focused response across government and multiple sectors,” she said.
“Everyone is already working as hard as they can, but the impacts will always fall short while we work within a failing system.
“We know that when people are securely housed, savings through increased social participation and reduced service use far outweigh the cost of investment.”
To help facilitate this collaborative approach, Believe Housing Australia will host a series of solution-focused roundtables during 2022 and 2023 for representatives from all levels of government, not-for-profits and the private sector.
The role you can play
The aim of the roundtable discussions — and this new, collaborative approach — is to develop, compare, contrast, and recommend strategies and actions to deliver an efficient housing system for the South Australian community.
The roundtables will focus on the most vulnerable South Australians, including youth, over 55s, people impacted by domestic and family violence, First Nations people and people with mental health issues and disability.
Together, attendees will have the chance to:
- Consolidate and increase awareness and understanding of issues across sectors
- Consider successful scalable models and pilots nationally and internationally and analyse similarities with SA and barriers to implementation
- Share data and identify gaps in the evidence base, to develop a collaborative, state-based approach to further research
- Table policy, structures, partnerships and funding mechanisms, including available Commonwealth funds; and
- Recommend strategies and actions that can deliver an efficient housing system for the SA community.
If you’re a representative of the government, not-for-profit or private sector, working in housing or an aligned field, who is passionate about creating a unified solution for South Australia’s housing crisis, register now to be part of our roundtable series.