Homelessness Figures Reveal a National Crisis

Launch Housing calls on the Australian, state and territory governments to develop a national response to address the national homelessness crisis, following today’s release of the 2016 Census figures on homelessness by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The 2016 Census shows that the number of people experiencing homelessness in Australia on Census night has jumped to over 116,000 from 102,000 in 2011 – a startling increase of 13.7%.

The count for Victoria is equally stark – with 24,817 people experiencing homelessness – an increase of 11.3% from 2011.

“With such an increase since 2011, homelessness has hit crisis levels and demands national action. We cannot accept a business as usual approach,” said Tony Keenan, Launch Housing CEO.

“The rate of this increase is outpacing the rate of growth in the Australian population and signals a worrying trend. The supply of affordable housing has not kept pace with the need. Other countries have shown that homelessness can be reduced, but it requires good policy and sound investment,” said Mr Keenan.

“Australia has to increase its low levels of social housing. Our research shows that the lack of affordable and safe housing is the biggest driver of homelessness, and this is becoming increasingly magnified.”

“Homelessness is not inevitable and can be solved through sound policy and cooperation between all levels of government,” said Mr Keenan.

“A key starting point is to increase the supply of affordable housing.”

The Australian Homelessness Monitor reviews the policy areas with the most direct influence on homelessness – changes in housing market trends and affordable housing policy, changes in labour markets and income support policy including the breaching of income support recipients.

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