Homelessness Australia release new data showing social housing shortfall

HOUSING NEED: New Homelessness Australia figures show there are 800 people without homes across the local electorates and a social housing shortfall of 6000 properties.
HOUSING NEED: New Homelessness Australia figures show there are 800 people without homes across the local electorates and a social housing shortfall of 6000 properties.

New data released by Homelessness Australia on Monday to coincide with Homelessness Week paints an alarming homelessness picture of regional and rural Australia.

The data shows one in five people without a home in Victoria are based in regional and rural electorates and Homelessness Australia chair Jenny Smith said these numbers busted the myth that homelessness was a metro issue.

"There is a longstanding misconception that homelessness is an urban issue, but the data shows there are people without a home and a huge need for social housing in our regional and rural electorates," she said.

"Thousands of people in regional and rural electorates are already without a home or at risk of homelessness and can't access social housing.

"With the significant increase in unemployment because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and decrease in income support coming in September, we are facing a perfect storm that needs immediate action.

"The lack of housing that people can afford is the biggest contributor to homelessness across Australia."

The statistics, shown through an interactive heat map, show there are 400 people who are homeless in the Indi electorate, which includes Wodonga, with the same number across the Farrer electorate which encompasses Albury.

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There is a social housing shortfall of more than 6000 properties across NSW-Vic Border communities.

Everybody's Home spokesperson Kate Colvin said the heatmaps showed thousands of people are living in housing they cannot afford or are without a home in regional and rural Victoria.

"There is a social housing shortfall of 35,100 properties in regional and rural Victoria, which is almost 35 per cent of the total shortfall in Victoria," she said.

"Social housing investment will help Australia build its way back to a stronger economy and create tens of thousands of jobs.

"That's why we've partnered to put forward a proposal to the federal government to urgently invest in social housing as part of its stimulus."

The Social Housing Acceleration and Renovation Program could create up to 18,000 jobs per year and build 30,000 homes over the next four years.

"With every electorate affected in Victoria, we will urge MPs to take a Social Housing Pledge to take the SHARP proposal to the Treasurer," Ms Smith said.

This story Public housing demand laid bare in new national homeless data first appeared on The Border Mail.