SHARP COVID stimulus proposal broadly backed

Along with other national leaders, PowerHousing Australia today backed the call for an immediate employment-boosting investment in the SHARP proposal to expand Australia’s social housing by 30,000 homes as the country experiences a wave of job losses due to Covid-19. Whilst the market for housing is going through an uncertain period there will be consideration of the options such as this proposal to ensure a smooth transition of new dwellings.

As per the SHARP stimulus proposal press release which calls for total government investment of $7.7 billion; $7.2 billion for new build/acquisition and $500 million for renovation of existing homes. Commonwealth contributions should be complemented by state/territory governments in the form of land and/or capital and local governments may also make a valuable contribution.

Building on the 2008 SHI, an effective SHARP suggests the following strategic objectives:
1. Increase the supply of social housing, predominately via construction of new social housing including within mixed tenure developments
2. New social housing to be primarily targeted at households who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Specific cohorts such as older single women may be prioritised
3. Stimulate the building maintenance and construction industry
4. Support employment in regional and metro areas across all Australia. We anticipate activity will be predominantly in areas where unemployment has hit the hardest
5. Support the housing market by taking the opportunity to acquire quality sites at keen prices that either investor landlords or developers wish to sell
6. Upgrade social housing to enhance energy performance
7. Complement, rather than replace, existing initiatives and assist in the achievement of a viable and interconnected housing system.
8. Build capacity in not-for-profit CHOs and encourage innovation in construction quality and design
9. Maximize public value through CHOs combining their rental income with other government subsidies, tax benefits, partnership arrangements and private finance to provide additional, low cost, housing.
10. Be combined with other regulatory and tax reforms to encourage multi tenure developments with build to rent
11. Over the longer term maximise tenant, community and economic outcomes.

The proposal suggests that SHARP would be administered by a new arm of the National Housing Finance Investment Corporation (NHFIC) accountable to an oversight body reporting to COAG.

The full report can be found here.