NSW housing crisis hits breaking point as 46 people are turned away from homelessness services every day

Media release

12 December 2023

Startling figures released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) today has shed light on the escalating housing crisis in NSW, as surging rents and record low vacancy rates forced more people into homelessness.

The Community Housing Industry Association NSW (CHIA NSW) said the data paints a bleak picture of the options available to families facing the housing crisis.  

“Right now in NSW alone, 46 families and individuals are turned away every day from specialist homelessness services, at a time when there are almost 58,000 households on the social housing waitlist”, said Caitlin McDowell, Head of Public Affairs at CHIA NSW. 

“These figures show there’s nowhere for so many people to turn when they’re in housing crisis, at a time when the rising cost-of-living is putting families under enormous pressure,” Ms McDowell said.  

CHIA NSW said the demand for specialist homelessness services and social housing was even higher than the figures show.  

“We know many people facing homelessness don’t seek out services or apply for social housing at all, so the true demand is much higher,” said Ms McDowell.  

The AIHW’s data shows that in NSW:

  • An average of 46 individuals and families are turned away from homelessness services every day, the third highest rate in the country after Western Australia and Victoria
  • Only 2 in 5 people who were homeless were assisted into housing 
  • 50 per cent of people seeking services were already homeless on first presentation, higher than the national rate (47 per cent)

CHIA NSW said the report urgently signals the need for urgent, ongoing investment in social and affordable housing.  

“We cannot solve homelessness without a significant increase in the supply of social and affordable housing,” said Ms McDowell.

“More than 35,000 people are experiencing homelessness on any given day in NSW, and the social housing waitlist is growing.”

“It’s time the NSW Government treated this crisis with the urgency it deserves, by investing in the social and affordable housing that families in our state desperately need,” said Ms McDowell.

Media contact: Tamara Kotoyan, 0430 291 890