The face of homelessness in Australia is changing
THE Federal Government has been called to intervene urgently as house prices soar, wages stagnate and housing affordability reaches crisis point.
In National Homelessness Week, St Vincent de Paul Society in Australia national president Claire Victory said the Great Australian Dream was fast moving beyond the reach of minimum-income earners.
This was placing pressure on a limited, overheated rental market, she said.
“At least 650,000 social and affordable homes are needed right now, with over 116,000 people experiencing homelessness on any given night,” Ms Victory said.
“The Society has repeatedly called for the Federal Government to establish a social housing fund of $10 billion to augment the efforts of the states and territories to address the chronic and growing shortage.
“Homelessness is no longer that stereotypical person sleeping rough.
‘It’s people like you and me, just one life event away from a devastating change in circumstances – illness including mental ill health, relationship breakdown, loss of a spouse, domestic violence, or the loss of a job.
“Older women are now the fastest growing group of people facing homelessness.
“Older people who do not own their own home, and women and children affected by domestic violence are particularly vulnerable.”
Ms Victory said of 74,000 rental listings in Anglicare’s 2021 annual survey, only three were affordable for a person on Jobseeker and none for a person on Youth Allowance.
Two-thirds of the 170,000 vulnerable private renters were in rental stress with less than $250 a week to live on after paying rent.