To launch Homelessness Week 2020, national homelessness peak Homelessness Australia and national housing and homelessness campaign Everybody’s Home have released interactive heat maps that show how wide-spread homelessness is and how drastically Australia needs more
The data shows that homelessness and shortfalls in social housing are problems in every electorate in Australia, with electorates from rural Northern Territory, inner-city Sydney, the inner suburbs of Melbourne and Far North Queensland all amongst the worst affected.
According to the data, Australia has a social housing shortfall of about 433,000 properties and around 116,000 people are homeless on any given night. Chair of Homelessness Australia Jenny Smith said the heat maps 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 said the heat maps show every electorate has a shortfall in social housing and called on the Federal Government to address this shortfall.
“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 deliver urgently needed jobs.
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,” said Ms 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,” said Ms 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.”