North’s social housing shortage crisis

Picture: PIXABAY

By Laura Michell

Close to 6000 more social housing properties are needed in Melbourne’s northern suburbs, where more than 1500 people are currently homeless, new data reveals.

The data, prepared for Homelessness Australia and Everybody’s Home for Homelessness Week (August 3-7), reveals that 900 people living in the Calwell electorate, 600 Scullin residents and 100 McEwen residents are currently homeless.

The data also shows that 3000 more social housing properties are needed in Calwell, while 2700 are needed in Scullin.

Homelessness Australia and Everybody’s Home are calling on federal MPs to pledge to commit to investing in social housing to help end homelessness.

Homelessness Australia chair Jenny Smith said the data showed homelessness was a problem in all Australian communities.

“The lack of housing that people can afford is not only the biggest cause of homelessness, but it also prevents people escaping from homelessness,” she said.

“The growth in unemployment as a consequence of COVID-19 and cuts to social security payments will drive further increases in homelessness. By investing in social housing, the government will not only give more people a home but will also keep more people in a job.”

Northern Homelessness Networker Meredith Gorman said the North and West Homelessness Network – a coalition of 50 specialist homelessness and family violence organisations – was aware of people sleeping rough in areas such as Dallas and Werribee.

She said that across the northern and western suburbs, there were 3837 people waiting for access to housing and homelessness support as of February, while a further 23,000 people were waiting for long-term public housing.

“The extent of homelessness in Melbourne is not a symptom of individual failing and bad luck but is reflective of the housing crisis that we are experiencing,” Ms Gorman said.

“Melbourne has a housing supply problem … and a housing affordability problem.”