Understanding the National Affordable Housing Agreement
What are the stated objectives of the NAHA and the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness (NPAH)
Recent comments by Treasurer Scott Morrison and Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar suggest they believe the National Affordable Housing Agreement (NAHA) has failed to meet its objectives of increasing the number of social housing dwellings.
What is the NAHA and what are its objectives?
The NAHA is an agreement between Australia’s Commonwealth, state and territory governments that commits to achieve the following outcomes:
- people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness achieve sustainable housing and social inclusion
- people are able to rent housing that meets their needs
- people can purchase affordable housing
- people have access to housing through an efficient and responsive housing market
- Indigenous people have the same housing opportunities (in relation to homelessness services, housing rental, housing purchase and access to housing through an efficient and responsive housing market) as other Australians
- Indigenous people have improved housing amenity and reduced overcrowding, particularly in remote areas and discrete communities.
The Agreement started on 1 January 2009 and is ongoing. The Australian Government provides indexed funding (in 2015–16 the Australian Government allocated $1.3 billion to the NAHA) to the states and territories for them to spend in achieving housing and homelessness related outcomes.
What is the NPAH and what are its objectives?
The National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness (NPAH), which also started in January 2009, contributes to the NAHA outcome, but is funded separately from it. It aims to help people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness achieve sustainable housing and social inclusion, in particular to fund frontline homelessness services. The states and territories are responsible for determining where homeless services are located, how they are provided and their level of funding.
Under the terms of the current 2015–17 NPAH agreement the Commonwealth Government will provide $230 million over two years, matched by states and territories. However, the states and territories have contributed more than the federal government, allowing nearly $250 million per year to fund around 800 homelessness services across Australia.