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Stopping rising homelessness an urgent Budget priority

May 8, 2023

The nation’s peak body for homelessness is urging the Federal Government to address surging homelessness and inadequate income support in tomorrow’s budget.

Homelessness is rising rapidly in Australia with the latest Census revealing overall homelessness has increased five per cent between 2016 and 2021, and children’s homelessness has surged 12 per cent. Women and children make up 56 per cent of people experiencing homelessness.

In the past year even more people have been plunged into housing stress and homelessness as they navigate the perfect storm of housing market conditions. Record low vacancy rates and record high rental increases are hitting people on low incomes hard. This is particularly acute along the eastern seaboard with rents for a typical unit in Sydney up almost 30 per cent over the past year. In Melbourne and Brisbane, it’s up by about 24 per cent.

Meanwhile, income support payments are too inadequate to keep up with rising rents. After paying rent, young people on Youth Allowance only have $13 a day to cover food, transport, medicine, power and other bills. Almost half of all people who receive Commonwealth Rent Assistance are still in rent stress after receiving the payment.

CEO of Homelessness Australia Kate Colvin said the housing crisis is stretching budgets thin and making more people vulnerable to experience homelessness.

“We know housing stress is the fastest growing cause of homelessness in Australia. Rents are soaring, yet income support payments aren’t keeping up. This is putting incredible pressure on household budgets and homelessness services. People are making unhealthy sacrifices such as skipping meals, heating their homes and doctor appointments just to make the rent,” Ms Colvin said.

“Commonwealth Rent Assistance needs to rise by 50 per cent. JobSeeker and Youth Allowance must increase to at least $76 a day for all age groups. At least 25,000 social housing properties should be built across Australia each year. And homelessness services need increased investment to support the growing number of people needing support. 

“This budget is an opportunity to lift the people who are without a home, the many who are struggling to keep one, and those who are not too far off out of crisis. It’s an opportunity to create more stable and secure futures for individuals and families who’re battling the worst housing crisis.”

Kate Colvin is available for pre and post budget comment on housing and homelessness.


To arrange an interview call Nick Lucchinelli 0422 229 032.


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