Australians are increasingly turning to homelessness support as the cost of living and housing crises hit hard.
Nearly 100,000 Australians experienced such financial hardship in 2022 that they needed to seek specialist homeless support, an increase of 9.2 per cent.
Tasmanians suffered the greatest rise, where there was an increase of 18.9 per cent of people seeking help, followed by Western Australia at 15.4 per cent and South Australia at 12.9 per cent.
An estimated 116,427 people were homeless on Census night in 2016. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Luis Enrique Ascui
NSW, which makes up over a quarter of people needing help, experienced a 10.4 per cent increase.
Australia’s median weekly rent now sits at $520 for houses and $460 for units – jumping to $640 for a home in Sydney after a price rise of 12.3 per cent in the past year, according to PropTrack.
Homelessness Australia CEO Kate Colvin has warned urgent attention is needed.
“When the number of Australians seeking homelessness support because of finance and housing issues nudges double digits, the alarm should be sounding loudly,” Ms Colvin said.
Habitat for Humanity says Australian homelessness support services ‘cannot deal with the overwhelming demand for crisis and emergency accommodation’. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Luis Enrique Ascui
“Australia has record low unemployment and on the back of commodity prices, some of the healthiest public finances in the world. We can do more to assist people who have been left behind.”
An estimated 116,427 people were homeless on Census night in 2016.
The shocking statistics come as rental vacancy rates drop across Australia, with the national rate sitting at 1 per cent, according to SQM research.
Adelaide’s vacancy rate has hit 0.5 per cent, while Perth has reached 0.4 per cent.
The grim new statistics come after months of increasing rental costs and low vacancy rates. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Andrew Henshaw
Hobart is sitting at 0.6 per cent, while Sydney is higher at 1.6 per cent.
Ms Colvin urged the government to do more to support people facing homelessness.
“Recent initiatives from the Commonwealth to expand social and affordable housing are very welcome, but the scale of this problem is expanding, not shrinking,” she says.
“As a society, our new year’s resolution should be to get serious about housing stress and homelessness.
“All Australians deserve a stable, secure home. This should be a right, not a privilege.“