A Social Housing Legacy for the Commonwealth Games

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The  Athletes Village

The village has  1,252 permanent dwellings, including  1,170 one and two bedroom apartments and 82 three bedroom townhouses spread across 18  buildings .We are the only city in 20 years that has no housing legacy included as part of the Games Legacy.

     Housing affordability can have wide reaching implications for a city.  There are profound impacts on households and the community if housing is unaffordable.  It is important to note that individual households experience and address housing affordability problems in different ways. 

   The Benefits of Housing Affordability  - Economic   

 There are a number of important benefits that affordable housing can have on the economy such as:

  •   .Housing affordability reflects positively on the city’s economic reputation as a liveable city.
  •     Affordable housing in particular that which is also well located near employment, education and public transport options increases employment participation and productivity.·
  •    Well located affordable housing also reduces car dependency, traffic congestion and promotes public and active transport such as walking and cycling. This includes increased patronage for the Gold Coast Light Rail, a $1.6bn investment by three levels of government.
  • ·         Greater housing affordability can lead to an increase in household discretionary income and therefore expenditure on other goods and services, benefiting local businesses.

     The Benefits of Housing Affordability-    Social Benefits

There are also number of social important benefits that affordable housing can have on the wellbeing of residents such as:

  • ·          The provision of affordable housing plays an important role in alleviating poverty.
  • ·          A diversity in housing options including affordable housing options is required to cater for changing demographics including an aging population and trends towards smaller households.
  • ·          Mitigating the financial pressures on working households caused by housing stress.
  • ·          Resilience through better physical and mental health and also greater access to financial resources and social capital.
  • ·          Key workers living closer to employment allowing greater uptake in public transport patronage and making active transport like cycling or walking to work a more viable option.      

 Risks of Not Providing an Affordable Housing Legacy

There are significant risks associated with a lack of housing affordability in Gold Coast City. These risks include:

·Gold Coast’s reputation as a liveable city that is “Open for Business” as key workers find housing unaffordable and affecting our City’s competitive advantage.

· High housing costs may require excessive debt, can lead to a decrease in household discretionary income creating the potential for greater instability in the local economy as people reduce consumption. In extreme cases this can also lead to bankruptcy.

·      High or prolonged levels of stress can lead to profound social impacts including:

  • -       over-crowding;
  • -       mental health issues including depression;
  • -       strain on family relationships;
  • -       lower economic productivity; and 
  • -       impacts on childhood development and education.

·                     Financial stress can also affect the wider community through reduced social cohesion and employment opportunity.

·                     The spatial mismatch between the supply of affordable housing and employment locations leads to increased commuting times and traffic congestion between housing and job opportunities for key workers

·                     Households with lower incomes are more vulnerable to increases in transport costs such as petrol prices or changes to public transport.  Savings gained in lower rent or mortgage payments often do not outweigh transport time and costs.