New data released by the Productivity Commission’s Report on Government Services 2021 released on 20th January 2021 confirms that of the low-income households renting private rental homes, 50.2% are facing rental stress and are therefore at risk of homelessness – which has remained largely unchanged over the past decade.

In relation to Specialist Homelessness Services, in 2019-20, 33.6% of clients who needed accommodation did not have their housing needs met, an increase of 4.9% when compared with 2015-16.

Mission Australia Executive, Ben Carblis said: “Still far too many people are suffering with the pressures of rental stress and are on the brink of homelessness. Many others have already been pushed into homelessness – many for the first time in their lives – and the accommodation options simply aren’t there for all those who need them.

“Australia’s housing system remains in urgent need of repair and investment. With the severe shortage of social and affordable homes, too many people simply can’t find a safe, secure and affordable home. This leads to people and families facing terrible choices between paying for food, bills, the rent or even medication and missing out on other essentials.

“Investment in building, upgrading and improving social and affordable housing will support economic recovery, improve social and economic outcomes for people on lower incomes, and will help Australia take great strides in helping to end homelessness.

“As an immediate economic stimulus measure, the Government should prioritise investing in building 30,000 new social homes over a four-year period under the Social Housing Acceleration and Renovation Program (SHARP) proposal.

Mission Australia continues to be a staunch advocate for a national plan to end homelessness and long-term government and private investment to address the critical shortage of social and affordable homes.

“Tackling the challenges of drought, bushfires, flood and a pandemic has really reinforced just how important a safe and secure home is for people to live, work, access education and stay well.

“We urgently need more social homes to help end homelessness in Australia.

“We also must ensure that income support payments are set at an adequate rate to keep people out of poverty and enable them to pay for housing as well as other essentials like food, medicine and education.

This must be tackled as a priority.”

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