A sharp rise in homelessness during the coronavirus pandemic will be made worse by the federal Budget’s failure to directly invest in social housing, advocacy groups warn. Source: The Age.
Community Housing Industry Association of Victoria chief executive Lesley Dredge said the Budget was a “missed opportunity” to invest in desperately needed social housing and generate jobs in construction.
The Budget included an additional $1 billion in low-cost finance to encourage the construction of affordable housing, but Ms Dredge described this “an additional $1 billion in debt”.
Launch Housing chief executive Bevan Warner said Australia was staring at a homelessness crisis because not enough was being done to increase the supply of social housing.
Research commissioned for the organisation shows that before the coronavirus pandemic, about 290,000 Australians were homeless, an increase of 14 per cent in the four years to 2018-19.
Federal Housing Minister Michael Sukkar said while the delivery and construction of social housing was the responsibility of state and territories, the Morrison Government was making significant investments in the sector.
He said the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation estimates that by providing an additional $1 billion of low-cost finance in this year’s Budget, 2500 new and existing affordable homes could be supported by community housing providers.
Meanwhile, Melbourne Archbishop Peter A. Comensoli has supported calls for affordable housing calls from VMCH, Melbourne Catholic reports.
VMCH is a Catholic aged and disability organisation that provides affordable homes for around 400 people aged over 55 who are at risk of homelessness.
Archbishop Peter A Comensoli said the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the important need for housing support.
“Sometimes we need to action more than just a shelter, and provide places for people that offer real hope to grow. Opportunities, such as those offered through VMCH, offer a pathway to stability and a chance to plant seeds for the future.”
Concerns about lack of social housing spark homelessness warning (By Henrietta Cook, The Age)
Archbishop Comensoli supports affordable housing calls (Melbourne Catholic)