A national alliance of community, housing and homelessness organisations today called for social housing to be a feature of the upcoming stimulus package to be announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison in the coming days.
A lack of social housing is a huge problem in Australia – at least 116,000 Australians are homeless on any given night and 190,000 households are on waiting lists for social housing.
Everybody’s Home campaign spokesperson Kate Colvin said the stimulus package offered the Morrison Government the perfect opportunity to invest in social housing, which would stimulate the economy and support Australia’s most vulnerable people.
“The economy is struggling against the effects of the devastating bushfire season and the growing impacts of coronavirus, so investing in social housing is a good way to counter those struggles,” said Ms Colvin.
“The beauty of social housing investment is it offers two positive outcomes; it not only boosts GDP and creates jobs, including construction related jobs, but it also has a social benefit by offering relief for the tens of thousands of people who are homeless in Australia.”
The most recent census data revealed that homelessness in Australia is on the rise having jumped 14 per cent nationally. On top of that, Anglicare’s Rental Affordability Snapshot shows that just 26 per cent of properties in Australia are affordable for a family earning a minimum wage and a miniscule 1.24 per cent of properties are affordable for an aged pensioner living on their own.
“Homelessness is growing in Australia and the bushfires have only exacerbated the problem by destroying property and making less accommodation available.
“We know from the 2017 floods on the NSW North Coast that these impacts can be felt for years.
“Social housing investment is the most effective way to reduce homelessness because it delivers housing that is affordable to, and targeted to, the lowest income households.”
Today’s appeal reiterates calls for investment in social housing in an open letter signed by more than 80 Australian community, housing and business organisations in December.
Every dollar invested in social housing is estimated to boost GDP by $1.30 and has far-reaching economic and social benefits. It also presents a stronger opportunity for growth than other commonly utilised levers.
It can be implemented more quickly than major road or rail infrastructure projects and it brings longer-term economic benefits through improvements in workforce participation and productivity, as more people with below-average wages can live closer to suitable jobs.
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