Housing wait times top five years in parts of NSW

Women and children are being forced to choose between sleeping in a car or returning to a dangerous home because of a lack of social housing in NSW, a peak body says.

Analysis of Australia's largest social housing system illustrates a stubbornly large applicant list and growing wait times since June.

The average "priority" applicant waits 14 weeks for a home.

"It means domestic violence survivors are forced to choose between sleeping in a vehicle or returning to a dangerous home," Homelessness NSW chief executive Dom Rowe said on Wednesday.

"Others are stuck in unsafe and overcrowded accommodation or sleeping on a different couch every night."

Some 57,400 singles and families were on the waitlist across NSW on March 31, including about 8600 priority applicants.

Since June, general waitlist times in southern NSW have more than doubled to 28 months, while large increases were also recorded in western Sydney and northern Sydney.

New applicants in northern NSW are being told they will likely be waiting until late 2029 for a suitable, affordable home.

Significant drops in wait times were recorded on the Central Coast, the Murrumbidgee region and south-eastern Sydney.

Homelessness NSW said 5000 extra social homes needed to be built a year and $128 million should be provided for underfunded and overstretched frontline services.

"Some services are so overwhelmed by soaring community demand that they have had to switch off phone lines or shut their doors temporarily," Ms Rowe said.

The analysis comes a day after Anglicare Australia declared rental affordability the worst it has ever been and accused governments of all stripes of abandoning public housing.

Social housing stock has barely shifted in the past 25 years despite the population growing by 44 per cent.

The NSW opposition said decisions such as one to scrap a proposed redevelopment of a social housing estate in Coffs Harbour were placing further pressure on the market.

The 127-home Argyll Estate redevelopment added too few homes and needed to be revised, the state government previously said.

"For a government talking about more for social housing, they haven't actually put the funding in place to build more social homes and to leverage the market to deliver more homes in general," opposition housing spokesman Scott Farlow told AAP.

Housing Minister Rose Jackson said confronting the housing crisis was a priority for the government and it had "stopped the bleeding" by freezing the sales of public estates and extending contracts for homelessness services.

The delivery of more social and affordable homes was also being fast-tracked through a $610 million federal funding scheme, while bids had also been put in for the first round of the Commonwealth's housing Australia Future Fund.

"We need more supply, there are no two ways about it," Ms Jackson said.

"You can't solve homelessness if you don't have affordable homes for people to live in - that is the core work we are doing and will continue to work across all levels of government and across sectors to deliver this."

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