Shelter for all

Affordable rental housing is a basic requirement and essential component of an inclusive, dynamic and sustainable city. Affordable housing (sometimes called 'community housing') refers to 'reasonable' housing costs in relation to income. A common benchmark is that affordable housing is housing that does not absorb more than 30% of a very low, low or moderate household's income.

The City of Sydney is committed to working with other governments to address the chronic shortage of affordable housing in the local area.

Short and long-term homelessness, combined with affordable housing shortages, are serious issues for central Sydney and its surrounding areas. Local governments must advocate to state and federal governments to act on affordable housing shortages and help facilitate planning permissions to make way for different types of housing.

Target for 2030

Sustainable Sydney 2030 establishes an ambitious target that by 2030, 7.5% of all housing in the local area will be social housing provided by government and community providers and 7.5% will be affordable housing delivered by not-for-profit or other providers.

Affordable rental housing strategy

In 2009, the City adopted an affordable rental housing strategy that was developed in collaboration with private and not-for-profit organisations.

The key objectives of the strategy are to:
• increase the amount of affordable rental housing in the local area for very low, low and moderate income households
• protect existing stock of low cost rental accommodation (such as boarding houses)
• encourage a diverse range of housing in the local area
• work with other inner Sydney councils to address affordable rental housing at a regional level.

The strategy identifies the need to increase the supply of affordable rental housing stock by nearly 8,000 by 2030.

Our broader housing policy work

The City recognises the need for leadership on the issue of housing affordability and hosted a stakeholder summit on 12 March 2015 to consider solutions. The event brought together 140 stakeholders, including key experts from wide-ranging sectors to workshop the critical issues impacting housing diversity and affordability in the city. The summit was followed by a public CityTalk: Solving Sydney's Housing Affordability Crisis, which brought together a panel of housing experts.

The stakeholder feedback from these events, research and internal consultation was used to develop the City's housing issues paper. The paper was on public exhibition from 4 May to 31 July 2015.

Feedback received from key stakeholders and the wider community through the public exhibition period will inform the City's new housing policy responses in 2016. This will include our strategic responses to delivering an increased supply of affordable rental housing.

Delivering affordable rental housing

The affordable housing levy program in Green Square has seen more than 100 affordable rental housing units built. The program target is 330 affordable rental housing units in this area. A similar program in Ultimo and Pyrmont has seen more than 450 affordable rental housing units built.

The City has changed its planning controls to enable affordable rental housing development. The Harold Park urban renewal scheme has seen land set aside for delivery of nearly 80 affordable rental housing apartments by late 2018 for low and moderate income earners. The Glebe Affordable Housing Project (Housing NSW) will see 20 new social housing dwellings and 90 new affordable housing dwellings built.

The City has sold property in Zetland to allow over 100 new affordable rental housing apartments to be built. We are constantly reviewing our properties for appropriate affordable rental housing opportunities.

In October 2015 the Salvation Army was awarded a $250,000 cultural and community grant from the City to help it build more than 160 new homes in central Sydney for low income workers and people needing crisis accommodation. Construction is expected to be completed by the end of 2020.

Overall, by June 2015 there were 753 affordable rental housing dwellings in the city, with more than 500 further dwellings in the development pipeline. Research has been undertaken with neighbouring councils looking at economic and planning barriers to affordable rental housing in inner Sydney.