According to a landmark economic study measuring the economic fallout of COVID-19, homelessness will increase by 11.5% and 25.1% more households in parts of Adelaide 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 across the country, 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. In SA an investment of around $270 million would create 900 new homes.
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 reveals that housing stress is set to rise by 25.1% in Adelaide Central and Hills, by 8.7% in Adelaide North and 15.7% in the South Eastern region of SA. Homelessness is set to increase by 11.5% in Adelaide Central and Hills, by 6.1% in Adelaide North, 5.9% in Adelaide West and 4.6% in SE SA.
The report projects NSW will be the hardest hit state 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% in NSW, 32.4% in Victoria and 23.7% in the ACT.
At the same time, the number of homeless people is forecast to rise by 19.1% in NSW, by 13.1% in Vic and 14.1% in Tasmania.
“A secure, stable home is among our basic needs. 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,” said Kate Colvin, spokesperson for Everybody’s Home.
“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. A 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.”