Wait list grows for social housing in NSW

The waiting list of people needing social housing in NSW has increased for the first time since 2016, with about 1000 more people in line for a home.

As of June 2022, there were 51,031 approved for social housing and waiting for a property to become available, compared to 49,928 the year before.

The number has steadily decreased since 2016 when the figure hit 59,907. Before this it had varied between about 55,000 and 60,000 since 2012.

In the last financial year there was also a 12 per cent jump in the number of priority applicants - such as women and children leaving domestic violence or those facing imminent homelessness - from 5801 to 6519.

NSW Council of Social Service chief executive Joanna Quilty said in some instances problems accessing housing in NSW was putting lives at risk.

"That is why we are urging the NSW government and the opposition, as a first step, to commit to construct social housing for the 4812 women and their children experiencing domestic and family violence," Ms Quilty said.

Premier Dominic Perrottet said any number of people waiting to receive social housing was too many and more needed to be done to support the social housing system.

"No one should be homeless in NSW," Mr Perrottet said.

Shadow housing minister Rose Jackson blamed the changing trend on the privatisation of social housing by the government.

"Between 2017 and 2021 the NSW government sold or removed over 3000 properties, over 1000 more than it completed. No wonder the number of people desperately waiting has spiked, again," she said.

In 2010, the last time a state Labor government was in power, there were more than 83,000 people on the social housing waiting list in NSW.

Families and Communities Minister Natasha Maclaren-Jones said that meant despite population growth, there were more than 30,000 additional applicants on the NSW social housing wait list under Labor.

Ms Jackson accused the government of trying to bury the figures by updating them over the New Year break.

According to the Department of Family and Community Services, social housing wait list data is released every year in December.

Over the current financial year the NSW government has committed to spend $88.6 million to deliver a range of private rental assistance and support services for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

"I don't want to see anybody in those difficult situations here in our state and we'll continue to work through those issues," Mr Perrottet said.