Sophie Scamps

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People’s Commission into Homelessness

People's Commission into Homelessness

Have you heard of Everybody’s Home? It’s a national campaign that’s aimed at fixing the housing crisis in Australia. It’s organised on behalf of homelessness and welfare organisations, including: National Shelter, Mission Australia, Shelter NSW, Tenants Union of NSW and Homelessness Australia, among numerous others.

Why is there a housing crisis in the first place?

“Fundamentally, the only way to make housing more affordable is to build more of it where people want to live. And arguably, we haven’t been doing enough of that. That’s part of why housing is expensive in some parts of Australia,”

Proptrack, Real Estate Appraiser in Sydney

A timeline of how the housing crisis occurred in Australia:

(According to ‘Forbes Advisor‘)

  • High levels of home ownership after World War II, due to low land prices.
  • World War II price controls on land and rents cease.
  • Land close to Australia’s city centres becomes more scarce.
  • Price rises average three to four per cent over the 1950 – 1980’s.
  • Deregulation of the financial sector during the 1980’s results in increased competition, low inflation, low interest rates.
  • Demand increases for property in the 1980’s and 1990’s.
  • Introduction of tax concessions on property investment in the 1980’s in the form of negative gearing, capital gains tax exemptions and interest deductibility results in increased demand for home lending.
  • Migration increases the Australian population to 26 million between 2000 – 2024.
  • Shortage of land suitable for residential housing becomes apparent.
  • Federal governments respond to first home buyers being ‘locked out of the property market’ by offering initiatives like the First Home Buyer Scheme. Some experts believe these have made housing more expensive, as they boost demand further.

National Conversation about the Housing Crisis

The 500 organisational supporters of Everybody’s Home are seeking to hold a People’s Commission into Homelessness, where individuals and organisations across Australia can contribute to a national conversation about the housing crisis, its impacts and what can be done to fix it. They are encouraging all people to share their story about how the housing crisis is affecting them and their community.

It will refer to:

  1. The experiences of people struggling to access affordable and suitable housing.
  2. The flow-on impacts of the housing crisis.
  3. The impacts of current policy settings on housing affordability and access to housing.
  4. Actions that can be taken by governments to improve affordability and access to housing

What happens next?

The Everybody’s Home Commissioners will review submissions between now and May 2024 and draft a report summarising the key findings.

The Commissioners are:

  • Doug Cameron, a former trade unionist and Senator for New South Wales with the Australian Labor Party.
  • Professor Nicole Curran – Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Sydney, where she directs the University’s Henry Halloran Research Trust. 

The Commission will then culminate in a series of in-person hearings, where members of the community will be invited to share their story directly with Commissioners and the media. 

Dr Sophie Scamps’ People’s Jury on Housing

With the same theme in mind, in June 2024, Dr. Sophie Scamps, Independent Federal Member for Mackellar will be hosting a People’s Jury on Housing to find solutions to the housing crisis that will work for Mackellar on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.

The People’s Jury is a group of citizens invited to form a jury, who will spend a day deliberating on the housing crisis from many perspectives, with the aim being to come up with three policy priorities that Dr. Sophie Scamps can advocate for in Canberra. Dr. Sophie Scamps is working in partnership with The newDemocracy Foundation, a not for profit research organisation that promotes community participation in politics.

The panel presentation by the People’s Jury on Housing will be presented online on Saturday June 15.

How to fix the housing crisis?

According to the organisers of the Everybody’s Home campaign, there are simple things that the Federal Government can do to make our housing system work for everybody:

  • Wind back the tax concessions for investors.
  • Improve the affordability and availability of rental properties by supporting the creation of 500,000 properties for people on low and middle incomes.
  • Create long term security for renters.
  • Ease rental stress by increasing rent assistance.
  • Commit to ending homelessness by providing preventative and rapid homelessness support when people in need lose their homes.

The Everybody’s Home campaign advocates for social and affordable housing, as both forms help to address the housing crisis and create a more equitable and inclusive society.

The federal government’s Housing Accord (signed between federal and state governments last year), aims to construct one million new homes over five years from 2024, by using private capital, including superannuation funds.

It is aiming to build 30,000 new social and affordable rental homes over five years by establishing a $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund.

We acknowledge the Aboriginal people of the Cadigal and Gayamaygal Clans. We acknowledge the Country on which we live, work, and gather as being Aboriginal land.

We acknowledge the lands, waterways and skies that are connected to Aboriginal people. We honour them and pay our deepest respects to their Elders past, present and emerging.

We respect their rightful place within our communities, and we value their ancient cultural knowledge and practices.

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We deeply respect that this will always be Aboriginal land and we will honour and follow the first peoples’ values in caring for the Country and for preserving their culture.

We deeply value that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are the oldest living culture in the world and we will continue to work with their peoples and communities to ensure their cultures endure and remain strong.