Our Future of Home is the culmination of over seven years of research by TACSI and other organisations just like us all over the world. It brings together over 25 projects into a vision for what a future ‘system for home’ could look like; a system that addresses housing problems in Australia, and provides the foundation for all Australians to reach their potential.
The current landscape
It’s no secret that access to a safe, secure and stable home is necessary to having a good life. It gives us control over our own lives and a foundation for a good life. It’s also necessary for giving us the space and freedom to invest in our future and communities.
However, we estimate that nearly half of Australian households live under conditions that limit their potential and hold them back in life.
The statistics of today point to an increasingly fraught future. In 2021:
Australian house prices rose 21.9%; the fastest annual rate of growth on record
Rents rose 8.9% on average across Australia; the fastest increase since 2008
If you’re a single pensioner, pensioner couple, person on JobSeeker or a single part-time working parent also on benefits, there is next to no affordable rental housing for you in Australia
These figures are unsustainable, and Housing stress in Australia means millions of people have no choice but to live under circumstances that ultimately hold them back and entrench their disadvantage.
If we continue the status quo in our approach to housing in Australia, these figures will continue to get worse. We’ll also increasingly feel the housing stress in Australia in almost all other areas in our life. Our living environment and access to safe and secure housing directly impacts our health, mental health, employment and financial security, access to supports and services and connection to friends and family.
As increasing numbers of us find ourselves in housing that limits (rather than enhances) our progress and potential, our experience in all of these areas will decline, and the Australian housing system that supports them will increasingly get tested and pushed towards their own crises.
Why we're focusing on the Future of Home as an action area
Currently, our home and housing systems lack the diversity needed to respond to the diversity of our population.
For the vast majority of us, the only options available for accessing a home are either renting (through social housing or privately) or getting a mortgage.
Increasing numbers of Australians are being ‘locked out’ of these options, which means more of us are struggling to find or keep a place to live, and being forced to live under conditions that inhibit, rather than support our potential to thrive in life.
We need to create more options for people to access a home capable of supporting them to thrive in life that break through the limitations imposed by how we currently approach renting and ownership in Australia.
The Future of Home is attempting to evolve how we’re addressing housing problems in Australia, because the status quo clearly isn’t working. We need an Australian housing system that puts people – not buildings – at its core, and recognises the huge social and financial benefits that are possible through doing this.
Key to this is to move our focus beyond supply and affordability. We need to let go of the assumption that increasing supply will increase affordability because this simply isn’t true. The record increases to housing and rental prices in 2021 (described above) happened during a period where housing supply was projected to exceed demand.
Moving forward, the Future of Home is focused on how we can leverage the learning from this body of work to create a better future for Australia; a future that is more productive and equitable for everyone.
How you can shape the future of home
There is a clear role for government, philanthropy, industry bodies and networks to invest into accelerating the development of a new system for home. Doing so would see the outcomes associated with the functions of home realised more quickly and sustainably. For example investing (time, effort, support, priority, money) in:
New affordable ways to ‘pay’ for where we live, beyond the predominant approaches to rent and mortgage/ ownership
Policy in portfolios relating to housing, health, disability, ageing, end of life and beyond that incentivise home as an outcome (for people)
Services in housing health, disability, ageing, end of life and beyond that:
Acknowledge ‘the home’ as the foundation for being able to receive good quality care,
Are designed to improve people’s experience of their home and leverage it for enable better care outcomes
Increase the security of tenure where people live - whether renting, ownership, or something else - not make this more tenuous
Giving power and decision making about how neighbourhoods change over time to the people who live in them
Home designs that:
Are capable of changing with people, as their needs and desires change throughout the lifecourse
Facilitate and support connection and community with those who live around us
Resources and structures to incubate and accelerate change in all of the areas above
TACSI has been trialling a Systemic Impact Network with innovators in home and housing in South Australia. This work has included policy makers, developers, people with lived experience and architects. Most people’s experience of networks is that they can become insular ‘talking shops’ that struggle to create real-world impact. Systemic impact networks aim to connect innovators across systems to drive change. We see potential for convening a systemic impact network in home and housing at the national level, bringing together innovators to build trust and learning between diverse parts of the housing system, and to support greater alignment in their ambitions and action.
Currently, our home and housing systems lack the diversity needed to respond to the diversity of our population. For the vast majority of us, the only options available for accessing a home are either renting (through social housing or privately) or getting a mortgage. Increasing numbers of Australians are being ‘locked out’ of these options, which means more of us are struggling to find or keep a place to live, and being forced to live under conditions that inhibit, rather than support our potential to thrive in life. We need to create more options for people to access a home capable of supporting them to thrive in life that break through the limitations imposed by how we currently approach renting and ownership in Australia.
A future ‘system for home’ would provide everyone with greater choice in the kinds of housing available and in how they access it. This future would enable everyone to choose their own best set of circumstances for how their homes support their best lives. We want to partner to develop ideas and solutions that contribute to increasing the diversity gravely missing from our home and housing systems.
This could include smaller scale proof-of-concept demonstrations to understand how to scale ideas that have shown to work for smaller groups of people. There is opportunity to increase diversity throughout all six parts of a Future System for Home. We see TACSI’s role as helping to ensure any new ideas are developed by and for whoever they are intended to help.
News, views and projects about the Future of Home
We’ve written a book that explores the Future of Home
Changing the way we think about ageing
Understanding the lived experience of homelessness and housing challenges
Our commitment to First Nations First
To date, we recognise a First Nations perspective within the Future of Home is largely missing.
Moving forward, it is a priority for us to create more opportunities to learn from our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander brothers and sisters, so the learning in this body of work can be strengthened by the wisdom that comes from their deep and rich connection to the land all Australians live on.