Housing affordability problem spurs innovative solution

A proposed housing scheme could make it easier for young and old Australians to find suitable homes at affordable prices.

New South Wales peak youth affairs body Youth Action has urged the state government to trial a ‘homeshare’ model it says has proven successful in other states and around the world.

The homeshare model would allow students or young workers to live for free or at subsidised rates with older Australians or people with disabilities in exchange for up to 10 hours of household assistance.

Youth Action managing director Katie Acheson said homeshare could address housing issues impacting on two diverse sectors of the community.

“Surging property prices have made it increasingly hard for many young people to find affordable housing close to their places of work and education,” Ms Acheson said.

A Youth Action survey of young people found 65 per cent of respondents still living in their family home felt they could not afford to move out.

“An ageing population has also seen a rise in the number of individuals or couples living in homes designed for a larger family, leaving much of our housing stock under-utilised,” Ms Acheson said.

“While these older Australians may be asset-rich, many are unable to afford to pay for assistance around the house that would allow them to age comfortably in their own home.”

Youth Action has recommended that the NSW Government provide funding and new legislation to allow for a pilot program to be run.