Pub Housing

Housing Stress

Affordability Crisis

Our housing system is in crisis. But whenever we talk about the housing crisis, it is almost always in relation to homeownership. What about all the people who cannot even afford the rent to keep a roof over their heads, let alone dream of owning a home?

Here are a few sobering statistics:

  1. 210,000 or 70% of Low-Income Households in Greater Sydney are now under housing stress
  2. Single Renters under 35 on average spend 57% of their income on rent
  3. 64% of Renters reported compromising on food, and 81% on family and leisure activities to keep up with rent

Meanwhile, Social and Affordable Housing supply has fallen to the lowest rate since 2010, average of 500 new dwelling approvals every year. This is while there are 51,000 families on the Social Housing Waiting List in 2020, with a 5-10 year waiting list.

The supply of affordable housing just can't keep up with the demand. We need to find a way to unlock supply now.

Learn more about this Social Issue

Housing Stress

the people

Young & Homeless

When most people think about who is the most vulnerable to housing issues, they would probably think of the homeless. But who are the homeless?

In NSW, 57.6% of the homeless population are under the age of 35, with 40% between the ages of 19-34. The majority are living in severely crowded dwellings or precarious housing situations such as couch surfing, and are therefore less visible than rough sleepers. Nonetheless, they are in a situation where they do not have their own place to live in this city.

80% of 18-24yo are avoiding the rental market altogether and choosing to stay home, supported by parents and a family home. This is a reflection of just how vulnerable and scared young people are in the rental market. But what about those who do not have parental support, do not have a family home to return to, and have little chance of securing a place in affordable and social housing?

Image Credit: Matthew Abbott for the Guardian

What If

disused space above the local pub could be transformed into affordable housing for at-risk youth?

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Unlocking Pubs

Pubs are synonymous with Australian culture. There's one in every suburb, every neighbourhood, no matter the size, urban or rural. But few realise that they were originally designed as affordable accommodation for travellers. Over time, the accommodation space has fallen out of favour to focus on the food and beverage side of the business, and the space used as storage or just left empty.

With so much potentially underutilized space across Sydney and even Australia, we could convert these spaces back into affordable accommodation for young people at risk of homelessness.

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Win, win, win!

Converting the space above pubs as affordable housing could offer a rare triple-win scenario for pub owners, affordable housing operators, and at-risk youth.

  1. Pub Owners can get additional income from an otherwise disused space while increasing their reputation in the local community for helping to provide affordable housing.
  2. Community Housing Operators can quickly and easily convert these spaces into transitional and affordable housing for their younger clients, particularly those at-risk of homelessness.
  3. At-Risk Youths has access to secure, affordable housing that is centrally located, with close access to amenities, services and transport in the heart of the city.

Pub housing is especially suited to the lifestyle of young adults, who are at a stage of their life where they want to be close to city life and play. Living above a pub may not be as much of a nuisance to them in terms of noise or they could be at a pub themselves on the weekends.

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Work, Study & Play

Young Adults have drastically different housing needs compared to older families. They want to live close to the city, to work, study and play, not in the suburbs raising a family. Most would rather pay more in rent to live closer to the city than save rent by living in the suburbs. However, the availability of land and price expectations have restricted the ability of governments and CHP's to provide affordable housing in the inner suburbs.

Pubs are generally well located in the middle of local centres, close to amenities, services and transport, which suits the needs of young adults. Any housing converted will automatically be well located to work, study and play.

Young Adults are often working and studying at the same time, and the majority work in retail or hospitality. Living close to the city will provide them with more opportunities to find work, and some may even find work in the pub they live above.


Rapidly Increase Supply

In NSW, the average completion time for apartments is 1.7 years and has been increasing since 2008. This is not even considering the design and approval process which can add additional years to the process. By converting disused space above pubs into housing, we can rapidly unlock affordable housing and increase supply in months.

Pub housing can also:

  1. better utilise the space already available in our cities and convert disused space as affordable housing for at-risk youth
  2. provide a triple-win scenario for everyone involved; pub owners get revenue, CHP's add housing to their portfolio and at-risk youth get access to secure, affordable housing.
  3. provide affordable housing in well connected, high amenity locations in the inner city at is close to work, study and play, suited to the needs of young adults.



The next steps in developing this Design are:

  • Locate pubs in Sydney with upper storey space available for lease or refurbishment as affordable housing
  • Partner with suitable Community¬†Housing Providers with a focus on providing housing to at-risk youth

If you are able to assist us in developing this Design, we would really appreciate you reaching out for a chat.

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