According to a landmark economic study measuring the economic fallout of COVID-19, homelessness will surge 9 per cent and 24 per cent more Australian families will experience housing stress in 2021 due to the impact of the crisis.
However, if the Federal Government invests $7.2 billion in social housing, it could make a serious dent in homelessness, turbocharge the post-pandemic economy by $18.2 billion, and create 18,000 jobs per year over four years.
The findings are contained in ‘Double return: How investing in social housing can address the growing homelessness crisis and boost Australia’s economic recovery’.
The Equity Economics report was commissioned by Everybody’s Home, a broad-based civil society coalition attempting to fix Australia’s broken housing system and end homelessness.
The report projects that NSW will be hardest hit by rising housing stress, owing to the larger proportion of households that rely on two incomes to pay mortgages or rent. Housing stress is set to increase by 41.9 per cent in NSW, 32.4 per cent in Victoria and 23.7 per cent in the ACT. In Tasmania, it is expected to rise by 25.9 per cent.
At the same time, the number of homeless people is forecast to rise by 19.1 per cent in NSW, by 13.1 per cent in Victoria and 14.1 per cent in Tasmania.
Kate Colvin, a spokesperson for Everybody’s Home, said a secure, stable home is among a basic need.
“With decent housing, we can fulfil our dreams, raise a family, and connect with our community. Take it away and even the most resilient person’s world will shatter into a million pieces,” she said.
“Homelessness and housing stress are a hothouse for anxiety, depression, and family breakdown. It’s in everyone’s interest to prevent this.”
“This modelling paints a frightening picture of the months and years ahead. No child should go to school unsure if their parents will lose the house before they get home. But that is the type of stress that’s about to be inflicted on thousands of Australian families and individuals.”
“It need not be this way,” said Colvin. “Federal Government investment in social housing provides the most compelling social and economic return possible during an economic crisis. Social housing investment simultaneously attacks homelessness from multiple angles, giving more people a secure home, creating thousands of jobs and boosting economic demand.”
“Investing in social housing is a no-brainer that will boost prosperity and help tens of thousands of people whose lives have been destroyed by COVID.”
Key findings from the report:
- Homelessness will increase 9 per cent, 24 per cent more Australian families will experience housing stress due to the economic fallout of COVID-19.
- If the Federal Government invests $7.2 billion in social housing, it could make a serious dent in homelessness, turbocharge the post-pandemic economy by $18.2 billion, and create 18,000 jobs over just four years.
- Predicted 19.1 per cent rise in homelessness, 41.9 per cent rise in housing stress.
- In Sydney’s City and Inner South region, housing stress is set to more than double – rising by 159 per cent.
- In Sydney’s Inner West, homelessness will rise by 27.1 per cent.
- In the Baulkham Hills and Hawkesbury region of NSW, homelessness will surge by 33.4 per cent and housing stress up by 135.5 per cent.
- In NSW’s Far West and Orana region homelessness will rise by 59.3 per cent.
- A $3.15 billion investment would create 10,500 new homes, nearly 7000 jobs and give the NSW economy almost a $7 billion boost.
- 1 per cent increase in homelessness and 32.4 per cent increase in housing stress.
- The number of people experiencing housing stress will more than double in Inner Melbourne by 126 per cent, with homelessness forecast to rise by 26.9 per cent.
- Geelong will see a 23 per cent rise in the number of people homeless and a 62.7 per cent rise in people suffering from housing stress.
- A $3 billion investment would create 10,199 homes, 6285 jobs and give the VIC economy a boost of $6.3 billion.
- 6 per cent increase in homelessness, 11.4 per cent increase in housing stress.
- In Central Queensland there will be a 31.9 per cent increase in homelessness and 55.2 per cent increase in housing stress.
- A $1.7 billion investment would create 5,698 jobs, 3,100 jobs and boost the Qld economy by $3.2 billion.
- 9 per cent increase in homelessness, 4.2 per cent increase in housing stress.
- Adelaide Central will see a 11.5 per cent increase in homelessness and 25.1 per cent increase in housing stress.
- A $270 million investment would create 900 homes, 535 jobs and boost the SA economy by $559 million.
- In Mandurah, homelessness is set to rise by 54.9 per cent and housing stress up by 31.3 per cent.
- In Perth’s South East homelessness will rise by 15.8 per cent and housing stress by 34.4 per cent.
- A $2.12 billion investment would create 5,109 new homes, 585 jobs and boost the WA economy by $617 million.
- A 14.1 increase in homelessness and 25.9 increase in housing stress.
- Launceston and the North East region will see 17.3 per cent increase in homelessness and 30.3 per cent increase in housing stress.
- A $451 million investment would create 1,181 homes, 260 jobs and give the Tasmanian economy a $283 million boost.
- A 7.8 per cent increase in homelessness and 23.7 per cent increase in housing stress.
- A $357 million investment would create 743 new homes, 245 jobs and boost the ACT economy by $270 million.
- A 10.2 per cent increase in housing stress.
- In Darwin, the number of families experiencing housing stress will rise by 24.3 per cent.
- A $225 million investment would create 476 new homes, 100 jobs and provide a $120 million boost to the NT economy.