New Data Reveals Urgent Action Required to Address Homelessness in NSW

New Data Reveals Urgent Action Required to Address Homelessness in NSW

Urgent action is required to address the growing demand for homelessness services – in 2016/17 over 74,000 clients were supported by homelessness services in New South Wales according to data released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). Three homelessness peaks have added their voices to the demand for action, with Homelessness NSW, Yfoundations and Domestic Violence NSW releasing a joint media release.

Homelessness services are contracted to deliver services to 57,000 clients each year and so are supporting 30% more clients than the system is designed, and funded, for.

This is a 43% increase from 2013-14 figures and a 6% increase from 2015/16 figures.

And, homelessness services in NSW are increasingly unable to provide crisis and other accommodation due to services being full, with 2 in 5 clients not receiving any form of accommodation despite requesting it.

This situation is due to the chronic lack of affordable housing in NSW. There are 60,000 people on the social housing waiting list across NSW and according to the Anglicare 2017 Rental Snapshot only 1% of private rentals are affordable for people on low incomes across the greater Sydney region.

The lack of long term accommodation is also impacting on outcomes for clients. Two thirds of clients at the end of support who were homeless prior to accessing a service have no long term accommodation.

“This is the second year of data since the homelessness reforms undertaken 2015 and it confirms the untenable demand for homelessness services in NSW,” said Katherine McKernan, CEO of Homelessness NSW.

“The figures also highlight the impact of the housing affordability crisis in New South Wales on the most vulnerable. Homelessness will continue to rise unless governments urgently invest in the social housing system, take action to make private rentals affordable and appropriately resource homelessness services to meet the current demand.”

Action is also required to address domestic and family violence in NSW. The AIHW data shows a continued increase in the number of clients seeking assistance due to domestic and family violence with over 22,000 people seeking assistance in 2016/17.

This is a 55% increase since 2013/14 and an 11% increase from 2015/16 figures.

Click to read the full statement:1617 AIHWMedia Release


Universal Housing Design Survey

COAG’s 2010-2020 National Disability Strategy committed to support the National Dialogue for Universal Housing Design’s goal that all new homes will be of an agreed liveable design standard by 2020. At the direction of the Building Ministers Forum, the Australian Building Codes Board is assessing the need to regulate for liveability in all new housing in the National Construction Code.

A survey is being run through the Australian Network for Universal Housing Design.
This survey will help to identify:

  • the difficulties in finding livable housing
  • the cost and benefit to Australian Society in providing liveable features in all new housing; and
  • the features that should be in a liveable standard for all new housing.

For further information, or assistance to complete the survey, please contact Margaret Ward, Australian Network for Universal Housing Design, on 0409 898 498.

Click here to complete the survey


FACS Rent Choice Consultations

FACS is undertaking development of a new Rent Choice product to assist adults with low incomes, who have been private renters over the long term but have suffered a single destabilising event, such as retrenchment or serious but finite illness, that has reduced their income and/or increased expenses. FACS has engaged Catherine Stuart from Lee Road Consulting to conduct consultations with local practitioners, to inform and develop the policy framework for the new Rent Choice product.

FACS is seeking your assistance in identifying local practitioners who work with people who may experience housing issues associated with destabilising events, to attend these workshops. This group may include but is not limited to social workers, community workers, health practitioners, Specialist Homelessness Services workers and tenant advocates.

The workshops have been rescheduled and are planned for the following locations/dates:

  • Tuesday 21 November 2017- Parramatta
  • Wednesday 22 November 2017 – Wollongong
  • Thursday 23 November 2017 – Newcastle
  • Friday 24 November 2017 – Teleconference (dial in details will be forwarded to participants)

Nominations or enquiries about the workshops should be sent to Lachlan Camp, Graduate, in the Private Rental Assistance Team at FACS. Please email Lachlan at

Share your thoughts on people who would benefit or research FACS should consider in the development of the new Rent Choice product, by contacting Catherine on 0439 084 657 or

There will be opportunity for you to refine the policy framework at a consultation session for the NGO Housing Partners Reference Group in late-November. FACS will be in contact with you separately about the scheduling of this session.

Further information on existing Rent Choice programs can be found on the FACS website



Partnership on Youth Homelessness Projects 

Welfare organisation the Brotherhood of St Laurence (BSL) and the Foyer Foundation are joining forces to expand national projects around young people who have been homeless or at risk of homelessness – offering accommodation, education and preparation for employment, Pro Bono News reports.

The two organisations announced a two-year partnership at the National Foyer Conference in Sydney to work together on measures including a “community of practice” for agencies which run Youth Foyers in Australia.

Youth Foyers began in France after World War II (foyer means hearth in French) to support young people at risk of or experiencing homelessness to secure work and has spread to other countries, including Australia.

The Brotherhood said the Youth Foyers were “different from most other services” for this group of young people because they integrated housing, education, training and assistance with health, well-being and finding employment and helping them develop the skills needed to lead productive adult lives.

Read the full article on Pro Bono News

Youth Homelessness Matters Community Forums Report

Over 80 people representing local community groups, businesses, schools, not-for profit and government organisations attended the Murwillumbah and Kingscliff forums hosted by The Family Centre during September. The forums were convened in response to the alarmingly high level of youth homelessness in the community.

During the two days a number of innovate ideas and projects with real potential to reduce youth homelessness in the Tweed Shire were pitched to the forum. The Family Centre will be working with project leads in the coming weeks to further develop their project briefs.

Below are the project ideas developed at the forums:

Youth Homelessness Matter Forum Project Ideas
Youth Homelessness Matter Forum Notes

If you’d like to find out more about the Tweed Youth Homelessness Matters campaign or contribute to one of the projects to address youth homelessness in our community, contact The Family Centre on (07) 5524 8711 or email

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