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WA pledges $500 million to ease housing shortage

Many Millennials face housing challenges. Photo: Getty

Many Millennials face housing challenges. Photo: Getty Photo: AAP

Western Australia’s government will spend more than half a billion dollars on social housing and loan programs in a bid to combat the shortage of homes.

The $511 million in funding, to be included in the 2023-24 state budget in May, is expected to deliver about 800 additional social homes across WA.

Premier Mark McGowan said the state’s strong budget position will help the government improve the quality and accessibility of social housing for thousands of people in need.

“We can do this because we manage the budget properly. We retained surpluses and we will be in surplus again in this (coming budget),” he told reporters on Monday.

“It means we have the capacity to do these things that other states don’t have and it means we can provide those opportunities for social homes.”

He said the funding would increase the government’s total spend on social housing and homelessness measures over two budgets to $2.6 billion to build over 4000 homes.

The measures include $450 million for about 700 additional social homes and renovations to the Department of Communities’ ageing housing stock to ensure dwellings can be used into the future.

“We want to make homes available and we want to make sure there is a continuous build out there, we want to help people get into social homes …we’re using our good financial management to make that happen,” Mr McGowan said.

The WA government has also broadened its low deposit lending program, Keystart, with people looking to purchase one-bedroom apartments now eligible.

An additional Keystart loan program will be introduced to enable prospective homebuyers to secure off-the-plan properties.

A $49 million pilot program in partnership with community housing organisations will also provide 100 homes for people sleeping rough in regional areas.

“We know that housing is one of the biggest issues in WA and we want to make sure houses are more available and more affordable,” Mr McGowan said.

He said homes were being built using less expensive and non-traditional methods, such as timber frames and modular construction, to speed up construction.

“It’s one of those hangovers from COVID that there has become this shortfall in rentals for a whole range of reasons and we want to make sure we get as many builds underway and as many builds completed as we possible,” Mr McGowan said.

– AAP

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