This week is Homelessness Week in Australia.
It is an important reminder that more Australians are homeless than ever before and this economic crisis could make even more Australians homeless.
According to the last Census, more than 116,000 people are estimated to be homeless in Australia. This includes people sleeping rough, couch surfing, living in a car or other vehicle, or in a single dwelling of extreme overcrowding.
The coronavirus pandemic has made it clear just how important safe and affordable housing is.We have all been told to stay home to keep safe. You can’t stay home though, if you don’t have one.
Over the last few months more than 7,000 people who sleep rough in our streets and parks with temporary accommodation in empty hotel and motel rooms.
State governments have done some important work here, but we also need national leadership.
The National Cabinet needs to make sure that the homeless Australians we have helped during this pandemic are not thrown back on the street in the next few months.
Labor has also been calling on the Morrison Government for months to fund the construction of more social housing.
This would be a win-win. It would provide work for thousands of tradies and put a roof over the head of Australians who desperately need it.
In times of economic crisis, housing construction has often played a key role in economic recovery.
During the GFC the former Labor Governmentinvested $5.6 billion in the construction of nearly 20,000 new social housing dwellings and the renovation of a further 80,000 existing properties.
Labor is not the only one calling on the Morrison Government to fund the construction of more social housing to protect jobs and provide homes for Australians who desperately need it. Others include:
- Master Builders Association
- Equity Economics
- OECD Economic Outlook
- Grattan Institute
- PowerHousing Australia
- Community Housing Industry of Australia (CHIA)
- National Shelter
- Homelessness Australia
- Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS)