The draft Affordable Housing Strategy was open for consultation between 4 March and 3 May 2020. The engagement period was extended by four weeks due to the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time we asked the public for feedback on the draft strategy in person and through an online survey.
The survey asked respondents four profiling questions and the degree to which they supported the four priorities in the draft strategy. They were asked to prioritise 10 advocacy areas by selecting their top three. Respondents were also asked to suggest innovative housing models being developed in Australia and abroad that could be included in the city of Melbourne.
Individuals, representatives groups, businesses and other organisations were invited to submit extended submissions on the draft strategy via a dedicated email address. The draft strategy was also promoted on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and through a series of industry e-newsletters and direct emails to stakeholders.
The initial plan for extensive face-to-face engagement on the draft strategy was interrupted by COVID-19 restrictions, although eight pop-up sessions at public libraries, community hubs and other events still occurred. At these events people were invited to complete the online survey to capture their feedback on the draft.
A focus group was virtually conducted with people who have a lived experience of homelessness. This session was arranged in partnership with the Council to Homeless Persons.
In developing the draft strategy, Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) spoke to senior representatives from the development industry, finance and investment sector, peak bodies, community housing industry as well as state and Australian Government representatives.
City of Melbourne officers held direct briefings with senior representatives of the property industry, government, community housing sector. A briefing was also provided to the City of Melbourne’s Homelessness Advisory Committee (HAC).
By 5 May 2020, the draft strategy’s promotional video had reached over 14,000 people on Facebook, over 7,600 people on LinkedIn and was viewed over 6,800 times on Instagram.
Feedback we received
Online survey submissions
Focus group participants
Written submissions received
What we heard
The survey responses and submissions received were overwhelmingly positive. Overall, there was broad consensus on the importance of and need for affordable housing. The majority of submissions broadly supported the priorities and actions proposed in the draft – and additionally provided suggestions for change.
For example, the peak community housing body commended the thorough analysis underpinning the strategy and strongly supported approaches and policies to deliver more housing and suggested some additional detail for consideration; and the Council to Homeless Persons supported the strategy, but recommended it have a greater focus on responses to homelessness.
Submissions from the development and property sector acknowledged the need to address the affordable housing issue through increased supply, but expressed concern regarding the mandatory mechanisms proposed in the draft. Most concern was expressed about Inclusionary Zoning, citing feasibility concerns and stating that the development sector were being asked to shoulder the burden of delivery without required Government funding or incentives. Some questioned the assumptions underpinning the analysis generally, and in the context of COVID-19, which prompted further expert review to validate the methodology and numbers. The Housing Industry Association were also critical of the City of Melbourne’s role as an advocate on State based issues.
Feedback on the priorities
Feedback we heard was analysed and used to inform the final Affordable Housing Strategy.
We made a number of key changes to the strategy and have detailed these in the document below.
The final Affordable Housing Strategy will be presented to Council for endorsement 8 December.
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