Why more people are in crisis this winter
The situation for thousands of people including low-income families, young people receiving Youth Allowance, people living below the poverty line on JobSeeker, and women and children fleeing domestic violence is desperate. The cost of living and rental crisis are placing people in financial stress, as they struggle to feed their families, keep a roof over their head, or access safe accommodation after losing their home.
While rents have surged by 24% in the past 2 years, incomes have only risen 10%. Recent studies are showing that after paying rent, a young person on income support in Australia has only $13 a day to cover food, transport, medicine, power, and other costs. The government has been recommended to raise the rate of JobSeeker as the most effective way of reducing poverty. And inflation continues to place thousands of people in financial hardship. Food prices have risen by 8% in the past year, with staples like bread and dairy increasing by 11% and 15%.
It is near impossible for vulnerable people to find a rental property in Australia with vacancy rates at 0.8%, forcing many to seek unsafe shelter in cars, tents, caravan parks, on couches with friends, or in motels. A study based on latest Census data has revealed that 1 in 5 income households are either experiencing homelessness, are in overcrowded dwellings, or in rental stress and paying over 30% of their income on rent.
Local support services underfunded, struggling to help everyone
This increasing need for support from people in all walks of life is stretching our community services to breaking point. The Homelessness Monitor shows the rate of homelessness has increased by 8%, while community sector reports indicated that less than 10% of services can cover their full costs with their current funding. We often hear from partners that they receive no funding for a particular service, or are relying on uncertain community donations. In fact, a recent ACOSS survey found that a staggering 44% of community services were seeing an increase in clients that they could not meet. Everyday, more than 300 people are turned away from Specialist Homelessness Services alone.
“Our funding does not meet the demand of the need we have and this can often mean we struggle to afford to purchase furniture for people trying to move into a new home after homelessness ”
Communify HART 4000 on Jaggera Country, (QLD)
“We have had to turn away more than a third of people seeking assistance due to insufficient resourcing”
Northern Community Legal Centre on Wurundjeri and Taungurung Country, (VIC)
“The opportunity of a fresh start and new opportunities that come with a chance to build a new home, can be quickly blighted by debt and stress around costs and ongoing financial responsibilities. Moving into a new home is very expensive, with rent in advance, bond, key deposits, removals, storage fees as just some of the costs we try meet for our clients”
Newtown Neighbourhood Centre On Gadigal Land (NSW)
“We have seen a large increase in clients experiencing financial hardship that puts their tenancy at risk as they make difficult choices between paying for fuel, food, bills, medication, or rent.”
Wollongong Homeless Hub on Dharawal Country (NSW)
Our response and how you can take action
This winter, join us and our supporters in responding to the needs of our most vulnerable community members who are seeking a safe place to call home. By chipping in and donating what you can, or sharing with your friends or network you can take action and help end and prevent experiences of homelessness.
We are focusing on raising money to support vulnerable people to keep a roof over their head, and people exiting homelessness to create a stable, liveable place to call home. Many people go into debt or lose their new tenancy when they move into a house without all the essential items they need to make it a home, and many people are struggling to pay rent with the increasing cost of living, and so are at risk of homelessness. Funds will mean more people can access tenancy support and maintain their homes, and more people will be supported to move out of homelessness into a stable and liveable home.