NSW at a precipice: homelessness set to fall over the cliff without urgent housing investment
Homelessness and housing stress in NSW will reach its highest levels in a generation by next June unless the NSW Government intervenes to keep families safe and housed.
The Equity Economics report ‘A Wave of Disadvantage Across NSW: Impact of COVID-19’ released today by NCOSS found rising unemployment will see homelessness in NSW soar 24% by June 2021 with parts of regional NSW and inner Sydney set to experience disproportionate increases.
In Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, as well as Sydney City and the Inner South homelessness is set to increase by 40.5% within a year.
Homelessness in the Hunter, Coffs Harbour and Eastern Suburbs and Far Western NSW are also set to have proportionally higher increases than other parts of NSW, reflecting already high levels of homelessness and higher local increases in unemployment.
CHIA NSW CEO Mark Degotardi said NSW’s housing crisis could reach a point of no return without immediate broad ranging policy action from the NSW Government.
“NSW is facing down a looming catastrophe that could see 9000 more Australians without a home and 88,000 more families in housing stress within the year,” Mr Degotardi said.
“The NSW Government has foreshadowed a social housing maintenance and construction program in next month’s Budget, which is good news.
“Today’s report shows the scale of investment required is significant to ensure everybody in NSW has a home and construction jobs are created in local communities across NSW.
“Before COVID-19 community organisations and the property sector were calling for 5,000 new social housing properties a year over the next decade. That need is even more pressing now – this report shows when this recession reaches its peak, thousands of struggling families may have nowhere to go.”
Mr Degotardi said the report found that 48% of medium to long-term housing providers have reported an increased number of inquiries from people seeking housing assistance.
Even those families that manage to keep a roof over their head are projected to experience extreme housing stress, with 88,800 more households set to have only one or no income earner by June 2021, putting them in danger of not meeting rental or mortgage payments.
Overcrowding in dwellings will also increase as a direct result of housing stress, with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people representing nearly 20% of overcrowded households in NSW.
“There were already over 50,000 households on the social housing waiting list before COVID-19 hit. The private market cannot ensure that everyone NSW can afford a secure roof over their head.
“It is time for the NSW Government to step up. Investment in social housing will provide fantastic outcomes for our community, through job creation, economic growth and meeting housing demand.”
Media contact: Hannah Craft, 0423 377 965