Australians turn to homelessness amid housing crisis

Australians are increasingly turning to helping the homeless as the cost of living and housing shortages are hit hard.

Almost 100,000 Australians experienced such financial hardship that they had to turn to specialist homelessness services in 2022, an increase of 9.2 per cent.

Tasmanians saw the biggest increase with 18.9 per cent more people seeking help, followed by Western Australia with 15.4 per cent and South Australia with 12.9 per cent.

NSW, which accounts for more than a quarter of those in need, saw a 10.4 per cent increase.

Australia’s average weekly rent is now $520 for houses and $460 for units – rising to $640 for a house in Sydney after a price increase of 12.3 percent last year, according to PropTrack.

Homelessness Australia CEO Kate Colvin has warned that urgent attention is needed.

“When the number of Australians seeking homelessness support due to financial and housing problems hits double digits, the alarm should sound,” Ms Colvin said.

“Australia has record low unemployment and, thanks to commodity prices, some of the healthiest public finances in the world. We can do more to help those left behind.”

An estimated 116,427 people were homeless as of census night in 2016.

The shocking statistics come as rental vacancy rates are falling across Australia, with the national rate standing at 1 per cent, according to SQM research.

The vacancy rate in Adelaide has reached 0.5 percent while Perth has reached 0.4 percent.

Hobart is up 0.6 percent while Sydney is higher at 1.6 percent.

Ms Colvin called on the government to do more to support people affected by homelessness.

“The Commonwealth’s recent initiatives to expand social and affordable housing are very welcome, but the scale of this problem is increasing, not decreasing,” she says.

“As a society, our New Year’s resolution should be to take a serious look at housing stress and homelessness.

“All Australians deserve a stable, safe home. This should be a right, not a privilege.”

Originally posted as Housing Crisis Drives Rising Demand for Homelessness Assistance

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