Better Targeted Affordable Housing Needed
11 February 2016 at 10:24 am
More targeted, affordable housing across specific regions of Australia is needed to stop the rise in homelessness, a study by community welfare agency, Launch Housing has found.
The Not for Profit has released the results of a study into the geographic trends of homelessness in Australia, which reveals larger scale economic and demographic factors are key drivers of homelessness.
Outlining the findings of the research, Launch Housing CEO Tony Keenan said “the research shows that where you are in Australia makes a huge difference to your likelihood of experiencing homelessness”.
“There is a clear need for a national strategy on homelessness to address the variation of experiences across the country and governments must invest more into appropriate solutions,” Keenan said.
“The area you live in and other broader social and economic factors such as an area’s income inequality are better indicators than explanations focusing only on individuals – problems with drugs and alcohol, or mental illness.”
The report showed that the rate of homelessness in the Northern Territory was almost 15 times the national average.
“The Northern Territory accounts for a large proportion of homelessness in Australia. But outside that, homelessness increased most in areas clustered in the metropolitan regions of our mainland state capitals,” Keenan said.
“The extreme rates of homelessness in remote Australia – up to 15 times the national average – is largely due to severe overcrowding amongst indigenous communities and highlights the continuing failure of all governments to develop appropriate policy solutions in those areas.”
Keenan said the significant increases in homelessness in growth corridors of outer metropolitan areas was often seen in areas where there were demographic factors such as a higher rate of men, of sole parents and of young people in urban areas.
“Homelessness rates are clearly rising in areas which have a decreasing supply of affordable rental properties,” he said.
He said the research demonstrated that action on affordable housing could address a significant proportion of homelessness and help prevent people from becoming homeless.
The research was a collaboration between Launch Housing and the Centre for Urban Research at RMIT. Launch Housing is a Melbourne based community agency formed in July 2015 by a merger between Hanover Welfare Services and HomeGround Services.
Last week the Federal Government called for submissions on ways to boost the supply of affordable rental housing through innovative financing models across Australia.
The government said the call followed the establishment of a working group set up to identify ways to increase affordable housing supply for those on low incomes, and implement trials of models in cooperation with the states and territories.
“Improvements in the area of attracting investment to affordable housing supply will require innovative and collaborative approaches across the private and Not for Profit sectors, and with states and territories,” Minister for Social Services, Christian Porter, said.
Porter said the government’s work on affordable housing would boost the momentum of initiatives already underway by states and territories, such as the New South Wales Government’s recently announced Social and Affordable Housing Fund.