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Families are camping in parks as Queensland’s housing crisis deepens (The Catholic Weekly/YouTube screenshot)

The St Vincent de Paul Society says a newly released report on people accessing specialist homelessness services “paints a deeply disturbing picture” of the nation’s housing crisis. 

The Australian Institute for Health and Welfare (AIHW) data shows new clients in 2022-23 were more likely to be homeless at the start of accessing support than new clients four years earlier, and less likely to be housed at the end.

St Vincent de Paul Society national president Mark Gaetani said the AIHW’s annual report is “further confirmation that the country’s homelessness situation is exceedingly bleak and shows few if any signs of improving”.

“The latest count of homeless persons was 122,000 but our experience tells us the actual number is likely to be much higher,” Mr Gaetani said.

“This detailed study highlights the urgent need for measures to address the shortfall in social housing and to boost the availability of homelessness services, including crisis accommodation.

“The responsibility to address the shortfalls in the housing market rests with the Government, as charities are only able to encourage action, not initiate it. More social and affordable housing supply is a priority right now and will remain so over the next five to ten years.

“Regarding immediate assistance to people in need, our members are seeing demands for emergency relief skyrocketing. Many people now seeking help are in the workforce, not just relying on government support.”

Mr Gaetani said the society’s pre-Budget submission to the Albanese Government “described the challenges being faced by more than 3.3 million Australians living in poverty, one-in-six of them children”.

“Our calls include an increase in Australian Government funding to address the cost of living and housing crises.”


New homelessness report is another wake-up call on housing crisis (St Vincent de Paul Society)