New Research Finds Many Fear Threat Of Homelessness
8 August 2018 at 1:42 pm
Homelessness is now a mainstream issue in Australia, social sector advocates say, after new research revealed 42 per cent of Australians feared becoming homeless.
The Essential report, commissioned by national housing campaign Everybody’s Home, surveyed 1,022 people last month and found more than two-in-five believed they could become homeless if their circumstances changed.
Everybody’s Home spokesperson, Kate Colvin, told Pro Bono News the research showed homelessness was no longer a “niche issue”.
“This shows it’s in the mainstream, in the sense that a lot more people in the community feel at risk of finding themselves homeless,” Colvin said.
Colvin said she was “worried” by the statistic but thought it would at least make the social sector see the problem as “bigger than [they] realise”.
“I think it will help us make the connection for people between what they might be experiencing in their own life, and the difficulty paying the rent, but then also what happens when people get to that next step of actually experiencing homelessness,” she said.
According to Colvin, providing low cost rental accommodation for social housing is a large part of finding a solution to homelessness.
“We talk about 500,000 affordable rental homes over the next 20 years, which isn’t something we’ve plucked from thin air, it’s a number that’s backed by research,” she said.
The report found 75 per cent of people surveyed thought “providing more social housing is critical to solving homelessness”, a statistic which Colvin said was positive.
“That’s telling me the public are getting more savvy and understanding what the real solution is,” she said.
The Australian Council Of Social Service (ACOSS), which joined the Everybody’s Home campaign this week, said there were “clear pathways” to eradicating homelessness, which included “reforming the tax system, and giving renters a fairer go”.
ACOSS CEO Cassandra Goldie said the “tax system disproportionately benefits people on higher incomes”, which made it nearly impossible for younger people to save for a home.
Goldie said there were solutions that “could start tomorrow”.
“Rent Assistance and Newstart must be increased to ensure it best meets the needs of people on low incomes in the private rental market,” Goldie said.
“Reform of renting laws are needed to provide greater security of tenure, and decent living conditions, including minimum standards of accessibility and energy efficiency,” she said.
Colvin said her aim for Everybody’s Home was successfully getting Australian politicians to address homelessness in next year’s federal election, and to include the solutions they were campaigning for.
“This is an issue that an overwhelming number of voters expect their politicians to act on,” she said.