Australians turn to homelessness support amid housing crisis

Australians are increasingly turning to homelessness support as the cost of living and housing crises hit hard.

Almost 100,000 Australians experienced such financial hardship in 2022 that they needed to seek specialist homelessness help, an increase of 9.2%.

Those in Tasmania saw the biggest increase, where there was an 18.9% increase in people asking for help, followed by Western Australia with 15.4% and South Australia with 12.9% .

NSW, which accounts for more than a quarter of people needing help, saw an increase of 10.4%.

Australia’s average weekly rent now stands at $520 for houses and $460 for units, rising to $640 for a house in Sydney after a 12.3 per cent year-on-year price increase past, according to PropTrack.

Homelessness Australia CEO Kate Colvin has warned that urgent attention is needed.

“When the number of Australians seeking homelessness support due to financial and housing issues rises into double digits, the alarm should be ringing loudly,” Ms Colvin said.

“Australia has record low unemployment and, because of commodity prices, some of the healthiest public finances in the world. We can do more to help people who have been left behind.”

An estimated 116,427 people were homeless on census night in 2016.

The shocking statistics come as rental vacancy rates fall in Australia, with the national rate at 1%, according to SQM research.

Adelaide’s vacancy rate has reached 0.5%, while Perth has reached 0.4%.

Hobart is at 0.6%, while Sydney is higher at 1.6%.

Ms Colvin urged the Government to do more to support homelessness.

“Recent Commonwealth initiatives to expand social and affordable housing are very welcome, but the scale of this problem is expanding, not shrinking,” he says.

“As a society, our New Year’s resolution should be to take housing stress and homelessness seriously.

“All Australians deserve a stable and safe home. This should be a right, not a privilege.”

Originally published as Housing crisis drives growing demand for homelessness support

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