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