August 3, 2021
1 August 2021
Cuts to the value of total Federal Government social housing and homelessness spending over the past decade will soon exceed $1 billion; while simultaneously Australian house prices have risen by 50% and rents by 31%, new data from Homelessness Australia shows.
This year, Homelessness Week, which runs from August 1 to 7, also marks a milestone for Australia’s housing crisis. Vacancy rates in regional Australia are at record lows, while median rents have hit a 10-year high.
These prices and a limited number of affordable rental options, are locking young people out of the housing market and making it impossible for many to find affordable rentals. This is occurring at the same time that the value of Federal Government investment in social housing and homelessness is drastically declining.
In 2013, the total social and Indigenous housing and homelessness funding was $2 billion. Indexed for inflation and population growth that funding should have grown to $2.7 billion. However, in 2023, the Federal Government has only budgeted $1.6 billion – a real reduction in value of $1.1 billion.
Homelessness Australia Chair, Jenny Smith, says it’s not a coincidence that these cuts have occurred alongside increases in homelessness and housing stress. Since 2013, the amount of people presenting to homelessness services has increased by almost 15% from 254,000 to 290,462.
“Everybody needs a home, but rising house prices and rents over the past decade have pushed more and Australians out of housing and into homelessness. Federal Government cuts to the value of funding for social housing and homelessness have made it harder for people to get into safe and secure housing they can afford when they are pushed out of the rental market,” Smith says.
“In 2010, 4.7% of Australian households lived in social housing, but by 2020 that had fallen to 4.2%.
“Building more social housing would mean every Australian could have an affordable home, we could end homelessness, and people on low incomes would no longer be forced into housing stress or overcrowded homes.
“Building more social housing would also provide safe housing options for women and children fleeing domestic and family violence, many of whom now get trapped in homelessness because they can’t compete in the private rental market.
According to SQM Research, the weekly asking price for all properties in Australia grew 50% from $456,371 in July 2011 to $686,742 in July 2021. Rents for all properties also increased – up 31% from $400 in July 2011 to $524 in July 2021.
“The high cost of rents, and people’s inability to afford those rents, is the biggest issue driving up homelessness in Australia,” Smith says.
“The second biggest issue is the plight of women and children fleeing violence into homelessness.
“We want to see the Federal Government recognise that everyone needs a home, and for it to lead a process with the states and territories to all contribute to building more social housing.”
Media contact: Kye White 0419 11 62 69 or firstname.lastname@example.org