Federal Budget misses crucial opportunity to tackle homelessness, housing stress

The Federal Government has missed an opportunity to support struggling renters and older Australians at risk of homelessness, by failing to invest in social and affordable housing in tonight’s Budget, according to Everybody’s Home, the campaign to end homelessness.

House prices have surged 11.8 per cent across Australia in the past 12 months and the cost of rental houses has skyrocketed by 15.9 per cent over the same period.

The property boom is pushing low and middle income households further behind in the race for home ownership, leaving them exposed to rising rental costs.

At the same time Federal spending on social and Indigenous housing has steadily declined with a 12 per cent drop between the 2017-18 budget to the 2021-22 budget.

Stable housing is absolutely vital for people who have suffered serious setbacks such as family violence, unemployment, or ill health,” said Kate Colvin, national spokesperson for the Everybody’s Home campaign. “Affordable and social housing provides the stability to find a job, and look after your health and your family.

“Unfortunately, the Government has missed an opportunity to invest in the potential of our people.

“Escalating housing prices are pushing more and more people into homelessness, including women and children escaping family violence, young people who can’t stay at home and older people on low incomes, especially women.

“While it is reassuring to see the Federal Government extend supplementary funding to homelessness services, demand continues to surge.

“Last year, one-third of the 54,000 women and children escaping family violence who came to homelessness services needing accommodation had to be turned away because no accommodation was available.

“We welcome home ownership incentives for single parents, but they don’t address the areas of greatest need, people on low and modest incomes.

Kate Colvin said the economic benefit of social and affordable housing had been overlooked.

“Economic modelling shows a joint Commonwealth/State-Territory investment of $7.7 billion, constructing 30,000 new homes over the next four years would support 18,000 full-time equivalent jobs per annum.

“There are enormous employment and productivity benefits to be unlocked from a better balanced housing system. We need to give people greater choice and allow those on low and modest incomes to live closer to employment.”

Contact:  Kate Colvin 0418 103 292

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