New heatmaps show 1 in 3 people who are homeless and half all social housing need is outside Sydney

News | Aug 3, 2020

To launch Homelessness Week 2020 (August 2-9), national homelessness peak Homelessness Australia and national housing and homelessness campaign, Everybody’s Home have released interactive heatmaps, that show the high level of homelessness and desperate social housing shortages across regional NSW, including Wollongong and Newcastle.

The data shows that regional areas of NSW along the North Coast and South Coast are among areas with the highest social housing need and homelessness– even before job losses as a result of COVID-19 and last summer’s bushfires.

According to the data, more than 10,400 people are homeless outside of Sydney on any one night – almost a third of all the state’s homelessness (37,500). More than 65,000 social housing properties are needed in electorates outside metropolitan areas, where incomes do not match rents – almost a half of the state’s social housing need (135,000).

Tourism focussed federal electorates along the north coast, such as Page, Richmond, Cowper and Lyne were already experiencing some of the highest rent stress and social housing shortages in Australia – and have been heavily impacted by job losses as a result of COVID-19.

Local homelessness services are also concerned that housing relief has not yet been delivered fast enough in Eden Monaro and the South Coast, seven months on from the bushfires that devastated local homes and economies.

Chair of Homelessness Australia Jenny Smith said the heatmaps show that homelessness is a problem in all Australian communities, whether they are remote, regional or metropolitan. 

“People often think homelessness is an issue mainly in cities and CBDs, but the maps show that to be a myth,” said Ms Smith.

“The lack of housing that people can afford is not only the biggest cause of homelessness, but it also prevents people escaping from homelessness.”

Everybody’s Home spokesperson Kate Colvin called on the Federal Government to address the shortfall and help end homelessness in all electorates.

“Australia urgently needs the Morrison Government to fix the national social housing shortfall, but it can also give Australia’s economy a much-needed boost in the process by creating construction jobs as stimulus,” said Ms Colvin.

As part of Homelessness Week, Homelessness Australia and Everybody’s Home are calling on all federal MPs to sign a social housing Pledge, committing to investment in social housing to help end homelessness, and also delivering urgently needed jobs in local communities.

A coalition of housing advocacy groups has developed the Social Housing Acceleration and Renovation Program (SHARP). The SHARP details how building 30,000 social homes over the next four years will create up to 18,000 jobs per year while combatting homelessness.

“The growth in unemployment as a consequence of COVID-19 and cuts to social security payments will drive further increases in homelessness. By investing in social housing, the Government will not only give more people a home but will also keep more people in a job,” says Jenny Smith.

“We have more than 300 member organisations that will be meeting with their local MPs to discuss the numbers in their electorates, and how they can support the call for urgent investment in social housing,” says Kate Colvin.

“This data shows homelessness effects all electorates, and we know social housing is the most effective solution, so we hope to see every MP sign up.”

The interactive map can be viewed at

Homelessness and social housing need outside Sydney

 – by federal electorate

RankElectorateDemographicSocial  housing needHomeless Persons
5New EnglandRural3600700