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The Accommodation Supplement and other housing subsidies will be required as long as low-paid workers and benefit recipients receive inadequate incomes and are unable to access affordable, secure housing. It follows that the welfare system has an abiding interest in ensuring good housing outcomes. A demand-driven payment like the Accommodation Supplement will continue to grow exponentially unless the housing crisis is resolved.

However, the welfare system cannot be expected to implement all or even most of the changes required in housing policy. The welfare system needs to be contributing to the direction of the systemic changes required, because many of the individuals and families most affected by the housing failure are recipients of welfare. The way housing is planned, funded and implemented profoundly impacts on welfare recipients.

A good welfare policy:

  • will recognise that a successful welfare system depends to a considerable extent on the fundamental security families experience from shelter and place
  • will work to ensure everyone has access to affordable and secure housing for their healthy growth and development
  • will recognise that housing tenure has a profound effect on people's sense of motivation and self-determination, provide low-income households with a choice of tenure, including renting, shared equity and home ownership
  • could consider the housing assessment and allocation process for public housing so there is an appropriate balance between placing locals waiting to be housed and high-needs households from outside the region
  • could consider evidence-based approaches to reducing homelessness.

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