New data released by the Productivity Commission’s Report on Government Services 2022 on 25th January 2022 reveals that of the low-income households receiving Commonwealth Rent Assistance (CRA) at end June 2021, almost three-quarters (72.5%) would have been plunged into rental stress without CRA. Worryingly, almost half (45.7%) of those receiving CRA still experienced rental stress and were at risk of homelessness.

In relation to Specialist Homelessness Services, in 2020-21 a third (32.3%) of clients who needed accommodation did not have their housing needs met, up from 30.2% in 2016-17.

Mission Australia Executive, Ben Carblis said: “It’s unacceptable that people and families across the country are facing enormous pressures with escalating rental stress and very limited availability of affordable places to rent, which is pushing them to the verge of homelessness.

“Finding an affordable home to rent has never been so difficult. Many are heading into 2022 already homeless – often unexpectedly – because there isn’t enough accommodation options to go around for everyone who needs it.

“Our dual housing and homelessness crisis is a blight on our country. With so much human suffering, the question remains: why isn’t more being done to repair and invest in Australia’s housing system?

“Even with recent State and Territory Government investment, everyone knows that social and affordable homes are scarce in our country which means too many people are left high and dry when seeking a safe, secure and affordable home. The situation has meant people and families have to decide between paying for food, bills, transport, the rent or medication and forgoing other essentials.

“As we head towards an early Federal Budget and a Federal Election this year, good policy and investment must include intensive efforts from the Federal Government to build more social and affordable housing. The State and Territory Governments can’t do it alone.

“In recent years while tackling a whirlwind of fires, flooding and storms, and as we step into our third year of COVID challenges, it’s clear to Australians just how vital an affordable, safe and secure home is for people to survive and thrive when challenges are thrown our way.

“Simply put, we need more homes – in cities, suburban, regional and rural areas – that address the critical shortage of social and affordable homes and the resulting homelessness crisis that we’re facing.

“This crisis demands the Federal Government takes the reins of a national plan to end homelessness in Australia which focuses on long-term investment to address the stark shortage of social and affordable homes.

“Building back better and fairer will not only greatly improve the lives and futures of people and families on lower incomes, but it will also positively contribute to Australia’s infrastructure and economy on our road to COVID recovery.”

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