A Wagga mum has welcomed additional funding for social housing in Wagga, saying she has been forced to rent an almost unaffordable home because Wagga's housing wait list is so long.
Over the weekend, the NSW Government announced a $183 million boost to social and affordable housing as part of the COVID recovery funding.
Under the funding, Wagga is one of three areas to share in a $50 million grant to fast track the delivery of 2,800 affordable and social housing homes, a measure providers say is "critical" in a water-tight Wagga market.
One woman who knows the struggle first hand is Taylah Galvin.
The single mum told The Daily Advertiser in September of a dire living situation in which she and her one year old son Ziggy were stuck in a home riddled with mold, unable to access safe affordable housing because of a four-year waitlist for a home in Wagga.
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Now, Ms Galvin has secured a new, private rental but says she spends more than three-quarters of her fortnightly income on the home, leaving her scrambling to cover all other costs.
"I get $1000 per fortnight and $780 of it goes to rent, it's a huge chunk," Ms Galvin said. "And then still having to afford everyday food, formula, my phone and bills - I definitely sometimes don't know how I do it."
Ms Galvin said more affordable housing would allow her some sorely-needed financial breathing room, and she's not the only one.
Saint Vincent de Paul's Peter Burgess said Ms Galvin's situation is all to common, but was hopeful that the fast-tracked delivery of new homes would help budge the waitlist, and get people like Ms Galvin in sustainable long-term homes.
"We're in a situation where people who need social housing have been forced onto the commercial market and that's crippling them," he said. "You're getting to the stage where people are forced into a meagre lifestyle just to be able to pay for a home."
Argyle Housing provides and manages affordable housing in Wagga and is the primary partner in the Tolland Renewal Project.
Acting CEO Caroline Doherty agreed the new funding is sorely needed in Wagga, saying while exact details of where the funding will be allocated have not yet become clear, any additional funding for new homes is welcome.
"The supply is the critical piece of that puzzle," Ms Doherty said. "The more housing we have the more affordable it becomes and the less pressure is continued to be placed on the private market.
"If you're already in housing stress and paying three-quarters of your income on rent to keep a roof over your head, that's unsustainable."
Argyle Housing is the primary partner of the Department of Planning Industry and Environment in the Tolland Renewal Project, a social housing and community renewal she hopes might be accelerated under the funding announcement.
"We're really hopeful that the announcement of the additional funding over the weekend will serve to accelerate that and bring [the project] forward," she said.
The most recent information on social housing in Wagga is dated to June 2020, and shows a total of 409 people on the social housing waitlist in Wagga with an average wait time of 2 to 5 years.
A spokesperson for the Department of Communities and Justice said the department "provides social housing to eligible applicants as quickly as possible, prioritising those most in need, including people who are homeless, escaping domestic violence or with severe and ongoing medical conditions."
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