This proposal reflects evidence of needs and solutions, combined with input and extensive consultation with Q Shelter members and stakeholders.
This submission proposes an approach the goes upstream by focussing on:
- Intensive prevention programs and system reforms that guarantee children vulnerable from pregnancy intensive support and appropriate housing with the goal of preventing exposure to adverse events and therefore the risk of complex future homelessness
- Interventions that achieve whole-of-housing-system health with enough supply to meet population demand including adequate supply of social and affordable housing
- A nationally coordinated approach to poverty reduction within which the States play their part and within which housing is a key features.
Q Shelter carefully acknowledges the momentum generated by the Queensland Housing Summit including new or expanded structural arrangements spanning five key Government Departments and new leadership roles to drive performance and success.
We also acknowledge the front-line struggle to deliver enough housing and support to households in need. This is felt among Government services, in specialist homelessness services, and the broader human services sector. In this context, workforce wellbeing is a significant risk factor to the sustainability of service delivery as more people struggle against the backdrop of unending demand characterised by increasing complexity. This is supported by data showing current and projected unmet housing need in Queensland across urban and regional areas is very significant with non-market housing delivery not keeping pace with demand.
There is a challenge across the housing system to deliver an immediate response to housing needs while also ensuring an effective pipeline of housing across all tenures built over the next generation. We need to set housing targets by each local government area based on population needs projected forward. Planning schemes play a critical role in enabling enough supply to meet projected needs in each area while the policy framework combined with investment in supply needs to be optimal to ensure enough social and affordable housing in the mix.
As the vulnerability and complexity of needs experienced by some households is better understood, we are again proposing an expanded resource base for Specialist Homelessness Services in addition to investment in leading practice tenancy sustainment programs across all population centres in the State. With these elements, we need to engage in system-level design to ensure an optimal response reflected in contracting arrangements and service specifications.
A devolved approach to leadership is critical to success as regional networks strengthen. There is appetite for regional leadership structures that solve challenges and realise opportunities. With an enabling policy framework this will create system capacity where leaders drive solutions, integrate resources, and leverage new contributions.
Q Shelter has articulated a framework of solutions across ten themes with associated outcomes:
- A focus on intensive prevention of homelessness, expanded specialist support and a recurrently funded tenancy sustainment program.
- Increased funding for supportive housing in all major population centres.
- Ensuring a healthy housing including housing targets and increased investment in social and affordable housing.
- Address rental system reforms including limits on rent increases and less frequent rent increases.
- Accelerated policy reforms to expand the role of community housing providers including through either long-term leases or title transfers in addition to increased property management rights over social housing including the opportunity for renewal of 10,000 social homes in the public housing sector.
- Specialised housing and capacity building solutions for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, women, older people, young people, people with disability and families.
- Embed the role of people with lived experience of housing need and homelessness in the system including through a strengthened tenant participation framework.
- Ensure a positive legacy for housing and homelessness as a result of Brisbane 2032 including the prevention of displacement of existing populations, the provision of workforce housing and social and affordable housing as a result of the athletes’ villages.
- Improve wellbeing and workforce retention through secure funding arrangements.
The scope of recommendations reflects the breadth of challenges and the interests of an engaged and widely distributed sector striving for progress towards reduced need and an increase in housing.
There is genuine progress underway with the Housing Summit providing a framework and other enhanced structural arrangements contributing to capacity.
Yet still the data on unmet need shows many households in significant need with very low private rental vacancy rates causing a surge of demand for specialised services. There is a vital need to enable innovation to deliver faster construction methods underpinned by a coordinated approach to land release. The balance of measures seek to accelerate reforms to the community housing sector to expand their role and release financial capacity in the assets they manage. Accelerated implementation of inclusionary zoning to deliver more social and affordable housing is also critical to success. An embedded role for community housing providers operating under a clear policy framework is overdue and would create significant capacity for growth. This submission suggests an Industry Development Road Map that designs the size and configuration of the industry with clear objectives, growth targets and a critical path to implementation.
The health of the whole housing system is important to reducing need. Residential housing targets are needed that include social and affordable housing, based on population growth projections. The Queensland Housing Round Table could embrace the need for targets while local governments interpret these into planning schemes that enable adequate residential supply in each LGA. Monitoring and evaluation will ensure real-time progress is used to calibrate strategies and improve implementation.
The need for expanded specialist homelessness services to meet demand needs to be addressed through recurrent funding. To assist people to sustain housing across all tenures, the recently funded tenancy sustainment program needs to be made recurrent so that fewer people are causing demand in the system due to forced moves. Funding certainty beyond June 2023 is a significant issue that will slowly erode system capacity as the homelessness workforce reduces in search of job security.
It is positive that five key State Agencies are engaged in significant bodies of work to implement the Summit Report. These arrangements are inherently complex prompting Q Shelter to still propose a body such as Homes Victoria with a key coordination and delivery role across the State.
There is growing momentum for supporting and including the voices of people with lived experience of housing need and homelessness. Q Shelter proposes a combination of policy and investment in capacity building activities to ensure opportunities for involvement and influence are beyond token measures.
Additional capacity could also be generated by support for multi-sectoral, place-based leadership groups driving regional strategies and most importantly the realisation of practical opportunities to grow supply and deliver service system improvements. Ultimately place-based capacity is essential to realising opportunities through decentralised efforts guided by a coherent and enabling policy framework.