A town planner of 30 years has questioned why the NSW government isn't doing more about the housing crisis that is continuing to worsen across Newcastle.
Waratah's Tony Proust said the current housing market "is not sustainable" and raised his issues with the government to no avail.
A prime example he says is Hunter New England Health having 10 units at Waratah being used for "various health-related purposes including offices for staff and storage", according to a letter from Parliamentary Secretary for Health Natasha Maclaren-Jones.
"Clearly the health department could find other ways of solving storage problems," Mr Proust said. "Go and get a storage unit. They would be lovely little houses, right on a bus route. Very central."
Mr Proust said he thought one of the biggest challenges facing the community was housing. The Herald reported this week that national homelessness campaign Everybody's Home says the current housing market is pushing people closer to homelessness.
"The cost of housing has risen to such an extent that the next generation of young Australians cannot afford to buy a house," he said.
"These young Australians will most likely have to rent most of their lives and consequently they will have a lower standard of living than their parents. This has never happened before in our history.
"It's a diabolically difficult problem to solve. There's no easy solution, but governments don't want to know about it.
"We need a government commitment to reduce homelessness. It's a scandal that people in Australia - one of the worlds richest countries - live on our streets.
"Housing is not an investment - a way to make money - it is a human right."
Mr Proust said he believed several government initiatives could be introduced to help the problem, including rental laws to make it easier for tenants to get five-10 year leases and harder to evict them upon lease end, and laws ensuring apartment buildings developers make 10 per cent of the units affordable. He said governments should also fund more social housing using not-for-profit providers.
The Community Housing Industry Association (CHIA) NSW has also called on the NSW government to significantly increase funding for social and affordable housing after Thursday's release of the Anglicare Rental Affordability Snapshot finding every low-income household is worse off than a year ago.
The snapshot found one affordable NSW home for a single person on JobSeeker, and three across Australia.
CHIA NSW CEO Mark Degotardi said funding new social and affordable housing projects must be a top priority in the upcoming state budget.
"Every budget is about choices and once again, the NSW government will have a clear choice. Invest in social and affordable housing and deliver hope to hundreds of thousands of people in housing stress in NSW, or abandon these vulnerable families and leave them on the precipice of homelessness," he said.
"Many of these families are one misfortune away from homelessness and are already making impossible choices between buying food, clothes, schoolbooks or getting medical care.
"Community housing providers have social and affordable housing projects ready to go right now and CHIA NSW calls on the government to fund these projects as an urgent priority."
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