Housing & homelessness

Access to secure housing is a basic right neglected by governments for decades. Increased investment in affordable key worker, public and community housing is needed to prevent homelessness and secure our city’s prosperity.

I promote a practical and compassionate approach to homelessness, addressing impacts on the broader community while supporting people to move from sleeping rough to independent living.

My advocacy helped start outreach services like Way2Home and Kings Cross Youth at Risk, supported accommodation like Housing and Accommodation Support Initiative (HASI), and the Woolloomooloo Integrated Services Hub (WISH). The City of Sydney’s Public Space Liaison Officer works on the street where people are sleeping rough.

Services I lobbied for as MP are now funded by the City of Sydney, the only local council in NSW with a dedicated homelessness unit. Our services include the state-wide Homeless Persons Information Centre (HPIC), Homelessness Brokerage Program and funding for outreach and support services.

I support preventing programs such as family support, Twenty10 Gay and Lesbian Youth Services, and brokerage services that help people return home before they are stuck on the street. I’ve advocated strongly for increased mental health and alcohol/drug services and specialist support for vulnerable people at risk of homelessness.

To protect boarding house tenants, I moved the legislative amendments to exempt low cost housing from land tax and argued for tenancy rights in boarding houses. I oppose public housing sales and support the Millers Point tenants’ campaign against sales of 99 year leases.

I hold regular meetings to bring public housing tenants together with representatives of council, NSW Housing and police to solve problems. The Sydney electorate has more than 2,000 public tenant households and the City of Sydney has over 10,000 social housing properties—more than any other local government area in the country.

The City has developed an affordable housing strategy based on the principle of “housing diversity” to help secure the social and economic viability of the city. We want to provide for essential low income key workers, such as teachers, police, nurses and childcare workers.

The strategy aims for 15 per cent of city housing to be affordable housing by 2030 and we are working with government, industry and community groups to meet the target. Council-owned sites have been earmarked for affordable homes, with land at Zetland sold to City West Housing, a not-for-profit developer and manager of affordable housing.

By reviewing and updating planning rules, the City has enabled the development of 250 new social and affordable homes in Glebe, and supported the creation of the Camperdown Project, which will house 80 people and provide onsite health and welfare services.

I lobby state and federal government for reform, seeking recognition of the higher cost of inner city land in funding arrangements; wider use of developer contributions for affordable housing; and innovative approaches to enable people on moderate incomes to become home owners.

Click HERE for my petitions on housing and homelessness.

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On Wednesday 5th November, a state memorial for Gough Whitlam AC QC will be held in the Sydney Town Hall. This is a sad day for all Australians, as we say goodbye to a giant of Australian political life. The tone and number of the tributes to him both in Australia and from overseas underscore the special place he occupies in our Australian story, and the affection that is felt for him across politics. If you’d like to leave your own message, you can sign the condolence book housed in the Town Hall foyer. It will be presented to the Whitlam family next Wednesday.

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Clear street signage for vision-impaired people is essential, but here's the real star of the show - Echo from Guide Dogs NSW.