Monday, 12 August 2019

Have a roof over your head that you can afford? You're luckier than many

By 2016, thirty-two per cent of Australia’s homeless population lived in New South Wales. 

Other states and territories account for 21 per cent (Victoria), 19 per cent (Queensland), 12 per cent (the Northern Territory), 8 per cent (Western Australia), 5 per cent (South Australia) and 1 per cent each in the ACT and Tasmania.

Homelessness has grown the most in NSW; between 2011 and 2016, there was a 37 per cent increase in the number of homeless people in the state, and a 27 per cent increase in the rate of homelessness. Indeed, over the decade to 2016, the rate of homelessness in NSW increased by 49 per cent. NSW now has the highest rate of homelessness outside of the Northern Territory.

The Clarence Valley may be below the national average when in comes to homelessness but it still rather uncomfortably ranked 96th out of 328 region when the 2016 national census data was published.

The Richmond Valley-Hinterland ranked 59th, Richmond Valley-Coastal ranked 68th and Tweed Valley 86th, which placed these three regions above the national average for homelessness.

In 2016-17 Specialist Homelessness Services supported over 74,000 clients in New South Wales – yet according to Homeless NSW they are only contracted to deliver services to 57,000 clients each year.

According to the Australian Government Institute of  Health and Welfare in 2017-18:

One in 110 people in New South Wales (NSW) received homelessness assistance, lower than the national rate (1 in 85). 

The top 3 reasons for clients seeking assistance were: 

• housing crisis (45%, compared with 39% nationally) 
• financial difficulties (41%, compared with 39%) 
• domestic and family violence (32%, compared with 39%). 

On average, 31 requests for assistance went unmet each day.

An est. forty-seven per cent (47%) of those presenting for assistance were accompanied by children.

As of June 2018 the number of applicants on the official waiting list for public housing in New South Wales was 52,9325 people who have an estimated average wait of 5 to 10 years before housing becomes available.

The bare fact is that the amount of affordable housing stock has not kept up with the increased demand, coming from a rising state population during a prolonged period of low wage growth in an era where full-time employment is obviously not the norm, given that by June 2019 54% of the NSW civilian workforce was either in part-time (by definition insecure) employment or unemployed and looking for work in a tight job market.

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