Private investors volunteered to play a role in efforts to solve the Border’s emergency accommodation crisis but have been hamstrung by bureaucracy.
Di Glover, the head of key Albury homelessness agency yes unlimited, said an ideal way to make a start to tackling housing affordability was for government to create more incentives for investors to build low-cost housing.
“But certainly councils have certain codes around what type of fencing can be used in the particular area and it’s high-spec’ stuff. You couldn’t possibly put this in low-cost housing.”
Western Sydney University academic Emma Power has highlighted the need for government to play a major role in substantially increasing its investment in social housing.
“We do actually need to see government committing to this and not just relying on the private market to provide housing,” said Dr Power, who is a senior research fellow in geography and urban studies.
“If housing is something that we value and we value it as being secure then we need the government to take the lead.”
Nevertheless, Dr Power also highlighted commitments being made to social housing by companies such as residential and commercial property group Mirvac as a large-volume investor.
Ms Glover said the possibility of private investment in social housing had also arisen on the Border.
“We’ve been approached on two different occasions by different private investors that have noticed a block of eight or 10 units that has been sitting vacant for many, many, many years,” she said.
“But we can’t make it stack-up financially.
“I think there were issues with council permits and parking.
“And so we’ve got people with lots of good will that are wanting to get on board, but the barriers for them to do so are too much.”
Ms Glover said part of the reason for the project not being viable was down to community housing regulations dictating the work having to be of a certain standard.
She said she agreed with there being such regulations in place as “we don’t want to put people in sub-standard accommodation”.
“But there’s got to be some sort of incentive or some sort of way it can be looked at. Because there are opportunities out there, places are sitting vacant.”