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Mission Australia responds to latest Report on Government Services 2023

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The Productivity Commission’s newest Report on Government Services confirms that, of the low-income households renting private homes, 43.9% were in rental stress and at risk of being pushed into homelessness in 2021-22, despite receiving Commonwealth Rent Assistance (CRA).

The report reveals more than a third (33.9%) of people seeking help from Specialist Homelessness Services who needed accommodation did not have their housing needs met. This is even higher (an increase of 1.6%) than the previous rate (32.3% in 2020-21).

“It’s worrying that so many people and families across Australia are enduring escalating cost-of-living pressures and skyrocketing rental stress at a time when there’s scarce availability of affordable homes to rent. It’s increasing the risk of homelessness for many people – some for the first time in their lives,” said Marion Bennett, Mission Australia’s Executive of Practice, Evidence and Impact.

Australia’s situation is dire because there aren’t enough accommodation options for everyone who needs it. Securing an affordable rental has become a near-impossible feat, right across the country.”

Bennett shared that Mission Australia’s homelessness support workers, and others like their organisation, are finding it increasingly impossible to help vulnerable families and individuals find safe accommodation – because the housing stock simply isn’t there.

“When paid employment is not enough for many Australians to guarantee a safe and secure place to live, then it’s undeniable the rental market is at absolute breaking point,” added Bennett.

“As we head towards the Federal Budget in May, our Government must lead the way. Recently, the Prime Minister said, ‘extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures’ when announcing intervention in the domestic coal and gas markets to tackle soaring cost of living with energy bills.”

She added that this finding means that they will be entering 2023 where people and families will still have to make tough decisions between paying for food, bills, transport, or the rent or to sacrifice other essentials.

“I call on our Prime Minister to maintain that sense of urgency and boldness with the cost-of-living pressures around housing when developing the National Housing and Homelessness Plan and negotiating the next housing and homelessness funding agreement with the States and Territories.”

The most common benefits that social housing tenants self-reported were feeling more settled and being able to manage rent/money better.

“We also need to make sure that we have a system in place that prevents homelessness from occurring in the first place, and works swiftly to help people if they do become homeless.”

“Access to an affordable, safe and secure home is crucial for people to survive and thrive amid whatever challenges lay ahead. This new report confirms this, with the majority of social housing respondents saying they experienced well-being, social connection and economic participation opportunities through living in social housing,” said Bennett.

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Menchie Khairuddin is a writer Deputy Content Manager at Akolade and content producer for Third Sector News. She is passionate about social affairs specifically in mixed, multicultural heritage and not-for-profit organisations.


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