Affordable housing remains a top priority

The City of Sydney hopes to deliver around 450 affordable and diverse housing units to support key workers such as teachers, police, nurses and cleaners.

The proposed new homes will be located in Green Square and Redfern on the City’s own surplus land and provide high-quality, affordable housing close to city jobs.

City of Sydney CEO Monica Barone said for many workers on lower incomes, the City of Sydney area was an increasingly expensive place to live and raise a family because of rapidly rising rents.

“If people on low to moderate incomes can’t find reasonable affordable housing close to their jobs in the city, they’ll move further away to seek work nearer their new homes, and we’ll lose their valuable skills,” Ms Barone said.

“We’re doing what we can as a local council because a diverse range of housing is fundamental to the cultural and social vitality of Sydney, and to its economic growth and general livability.

“We must continue to plan strategically for sustainable population growth and increased densities to protect and build on what we love about city living.

“But we can’t do all this alone and will continue to work with other levels of government and organisations to meet demands.”

Affordable housing is the responsibility of state and federal governments. However, the City supports supply by selling land at discounted prices, contributing to remediation costs, creating rooms that can be rented as affordable housing and through its own planning policies.

The City uses every mechanism available to develop new affordable housing. This includes implementing affordable housing levies in areas permitted by the NSW Government, amending planning controls and negotiating voluntary planning agreements, transferring land to community housing providers and investing in affordable housing projects.

Approximately 300 of the affordable homes are proposed for Green Square as part of 30,500 new residential dwellings expected to be completed in the area by 2030.

An additional 150 diverse housing options are proposed for the soon-to-close Marian Street depot in Redfern. The repurposed land will be available for development as early as 2017, paving the way for much needed homes for singles and families close to the city centre.

The City has already completed or is currently delivering more than 800 additional affordable housing dwellings in the local area, allowing eligible tenants to spend no more than 30 per cent of their household salary on rent.

These housing developments include: 68 Bay Street and 14 Cowper Street in Glebe, 895 Bourke Street, Waterloo, 74 Botany Road, Alexandria, Common Ground in Camperdown, South Sydney Hospital site, Harold Park, the Salvation Army in Surry Hills and HammondCare in Darlinghurst.

But at less than one per cent of all homes, current affordable rental housing supply offers little support to the estimated 50,000 key workers who keep the city ticking and make up more than 10 per cent of the workforce.

The City’s Sustainable Sydney 2030 strategy and affordable rental housing strategy aim to ensure that 7.5 per cent of the City’s housing stock is social or public housing, and 7.5 per cent is affordable housing delivered by ‘not-for-profit’ or other providers.