In 2020 Anti-Poverty Week partnered with the Everybody’s Home campaign to help ensure all Australians have a safe and decent place to call home. In 2021, safe and affordable housing is an even more important solution to ending poverty. The housing affordability crisis is worsening especially in regional Australia – rents have increased 11.3% in past year in regions on average (and more than 20% in some regions of Queensland, WA and NSW) and 5% on average in capital cities. Commonwealth Rent Assistance hasn’t had a real increase in 21 years and only covers a third or a quarter of actual rent paid.
There is a national shortage of 433,000 homes for people in the lowest 20% of household incomes who are either homeless or in rental stress and at high risk of becoming homeless. Women and children fleeing violence is the single largest reason people seek help from homelessness services.
See the important new report Nowhere to Go produced by Equity Economics and released on 12 July 2021. It was commissioned by the Everybody’s Home campaign ahead of the Women’s Safety Summit and Homelessness Week 2021. The report estimated that the lack of long term social housing is leading to 7,690 women a year returning to violent partners and 9,120 women a year becoming homeless. If the Commonwealth Government invested in 16,800 additional social housing units the $7.6 billion cost would be dwarfed by immediate economic benefits of $15.3 billion and the creation of 47,000 new jobs. You can sign the Petition page which calls on the PM to support more social housing for women and children fleeing violence.
“Among the best ways to broaden Australia’s economic recovery strategy would be a large-scale national social housing program. Minimal construction for most of the past 25 years means that national social housing supply has effectively halved since the 1990s“, Professor Bill Randolph of UNSW City Futures Research Centre.
A survey of 47 leading economists and 40 senior experts from government, industry and academia released in February 2021 found a strong preference to direct Federal government stimulus to social rather than private housing. Almost seven in ten (69%) of respondents agreed that: Coming out of COVID, stimulating housing is best achieved through social/affordable housing investment rather than private market.
Everybody’s Home released new data in Homelessness Week 2021 that found COVID-essential workers in the care and services sector are facing a rental affordability crisis. Rent on an apartment would cost at least 1/3 of their weekly income in 84% of Australia’s geographic regions and more than 2/3 in 9 regions (NSW: Sydney CBD, Lower North Shore, Northern Beaches, Eastern Suburbs; Queensland: Gold Coast South; ACT: Inner South, South, Inner North, North).