New report sounds the alarm on Australia’s social housing crisis

Everybody’s Home has welcomed today’s report – COVID-19: Rental Housing and Homelessness Impacts – An Initial Analysis and is calling on the Federal Government to deliver more affordable rental housing for struggling Australian families.

Everybody’s Home, a national campaign to end homelessness, says despite measures rolled out to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic, including eviction moratoriums, temporary increases to income support payments and emergency accommodation programs, housing security is about to rapidly worsen for many Australians.

“Temporary income and eviction protections are due to be phased out at a time when unemployment is set to peak at around 8 per cent, and without new measures homelessness and housing stress will rise,” said Everybody’s Home spokesperson Kate Colvin.

“Renters were hit much harder by COVID than homeowners, particularly in locations where rents increased even as unemployment soared. This will only get worse, and especially so in regional Australia.

“Compared with the situation at the start of the pandemic the number of households suffering housing stress will increase anywhere from 5% to 18 per cent depending on the severity of the recession.

“COVID exposed a social-housing system that is deeply strained and lacking a supply pipeline to meet demand. 

“Stay-at-home orders also revealed just how precarious many people’s accommodation is, from those who are homeless to those unable to meet rent or mortgage payments.”

The report by UNSW Sydney and Australian Council of Social Service’s Poverty and Inequality research partnership notes the Federal Government’s role in the design and implementation of housing and homelessness responses (as distinct from cash payments) has been extremely hands-off.

Ms Colvin said: “We must heed the lessons of COVID-19 about the importance of home and the value of Government stimulus and start to build new social housing. We can start with building 30,000 social housing units, that will not only provide homes for those that need it most, but also help boost the economy.” 

An Equity Economics report released by Everybody’s Home in December found Government investment of $7.7 billion in social housing, including federal funding complemented by funds from the states and territories, would make a huge dent in homelessness, boost the post-pandemic economy by $18.2 billion and create 18,000 jobs a year over four years.

Further comment: Kate Colvin 0418 103 292
Further information: Julia Timms 0457 517 355 [email protected]

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