The National Affordable Housing Agreement (NAHA) aims to ensure that all Australians have access to affordable, safe and sustainable housing that contributes to social and economic participation. A third feature is the requirement for states and territories to publish housing strategies each year. Stakeholders will be able to assess and compare the merits of these published projects. These will follow a new round of high-level bilateral agreements negotiated between each state and territory and the Commonwealth. To ensure the affordability of the life of the unit, the affordable housing agreement is covered by the certificate of ownership or any other method approved by the City Council. In the event that an inclusion unit is affordable, the accessibility contract sets out the method to ensure that units remain affordable in the event of a change in the housing market. On March 8, 2019, a 10-year agreement was signed between the Government of Canada and the Government of Alberta. The agreement will invest $678 million to protect, renew and expand social and community housing in Alberta. It replaces the 10-year national agreement on affordable housing and a number of partnerships since 2008 to combat homelessness – the national partnership agreement to combat homelessness. The most recent agreement presents more achievable performance indicators than their predecessors. It also requires states to report on their annual financial contributions, a worthy step forward for transparency. This expanded coverage is generally welcome, but it does not meet the demands of a national housing strategy.
This means that many national policies that have a significant impact on housing demand and costs – such as housing investment taxes, immigration levels and income assistance for tenants – remain out of the influence of the agreement. Such a policy also has a strong influence on the prospects for reducing housing stress. NAHA is an agreement between the Commonwealth, State and Territory governments of Australia, which is committed to achieving the following results: NAHA allocates $6.2 billion in housing benefits to low- and middle-income Australians in the first five years. This agreement replaces the 2003 Commonwealth State Housing Agreement. This funding supports a variety of programs and services in Alberta, such as building new housing and updating the Seniors Lodge portfolio. However, the Commonwealth has not been able to expand or replace other major housing programs that have been put in place over the past decade. These include the now-closed National Rental Affordability Scheme, which has resulted in more than 36,000 new affordable rental units, and a AUD 5 billion national partnership to improve housing supply and conditions in isolated (mostly Aboriginal) communities. Compared to the most recent previous agreements, three things are emerging as new or reissued. Although the new agreement has positive directions, the need for funding remains a problem. Although funding is not increased, the Commonwealth hopes that states and territories will increase their resources.
The second and arguably the largest set of amendments is accountability.