Soaring house prices lock Australia’s homeless out
SYDNEY: Homelessness is on the rise in Australia, with a growing number of people failing to benefit from the nation’s stellar economy as it readies to mark a record 26 years without a recession, experts warn.
The unprecedented economic expansion — fuelled by a massive mining investment boom — has boosted house prices and lined the pockets of citizens. But, it has also led to the country’s biggest cities, Sydney and Melbourne, being ranked second and 10th on a list of the world’s least affordable housing.
The soaring prices have placed pressure on those already struggling to afford a roof over their heads, with a public outcry on housing affordability sparking action by federal and state governments to fund more social and inexpensive residential projects.
“Australia is a wealthy country, so it shouldn’t have the levels of homelessness that it has now,” Homelessness New South Wales chief Katherine McKernan said.
“The numbers of people seeking homelessness support are higher compared with London or New York. Homelessness is increasing in Sydney and Melbourne due to the lack of affordable housing.”
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare said demand for homelessness services reached a record high of 279,000 people in 2015-2016, led by those affected by domestic and family violence, a 33 per cent jump from 20112012 when the data was first collected.
More than 100,000 people were reported homeless in the 2011 national census, with welfare groups expecting the survey held last year to show an increase. AFP