Young Australians crunched by housing crisis

ustralia must urgently build more social and affordable housing, as a new analysis shows more young Australians struggling with the rising cost of rent and more than 24,000 turned away from homelessness services due to a lack of accommodation.

As the nation marks Youth Homelessness Matter Day an analysis by the Everybody’s Home campaign shows an 18 year old hospitality or retail worker would struggle to pay the rent in every capital city, while someone on Youth Allowance would be pushed to the brink of homelessness.

The analysis cross references the average rent of a single bedroom in a 2-bedroom apartment against the weekly wage of a level 1, 18 year old hospitality or retail worker, or someone on Youth Allowance. It finds rent absorbed more than 30 percent of income, the definition of housing stress, in every capital city.

The most recent Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Specialist Homelessness Services Annual Report  shows the strain this is putting on homelessness services.

In 2020-21, 41,652 young people aged 15-24 sought homelessness services, “presenting alone”, meaning they weren’t supported by parents or carers. This included 14,876 young men and 26,776 young women.

Of these young people, 36,599 were seeking medium- or longer-term accommodation.

Only 5,092 were able to be provided with medium- or longer-term accommodation. A further 7,454 were referred to other agencies for accommodation. In total, 24,053 missed out on accommodation because none was available.

“Young Australian are caught in a vice of surging rents and declining real wages. They’re going out backwards and many are facing the harsh reality of homelessness,” said Kate Colvin, national spokesperson for Everybody’s Home.

“It doesn’t have to be this way. Federal Government policy is creating this crisis but Federal Government action can also fix it. We can give people on low and modest incomes more choice by expanding the supply of social and affordable housing.

“Everyone deserves the security of a stable home. This should be a right, not a privilege.

“This crisis will only get worse if we continue to deny its existence. Telling people earning forty to fifty thousand dollars a year to simply buy a property is callous and unrealistic. Young Australians deserve better.”

Media contact: Levi Joule 048 111 2074 or Tim Brunero 0405 285 547

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