Australian Homelessness Monitor 2020
The latest Australian Homelessness Monitor shows the national homelessness rate is set to surge as short-term coronavirus and housing protections phase down.
The 2020 Australian Homelessness Monitor offers an independent analysis of homelessness in Australia. It investigates the changing scale and nature of the problem, and assesses recent policy and practice developments seen in response.
This is the second in the Launch Housing-commissioned Monitor series, conducted by the University of New South Wales (City Futures Research Centre and the Centre for Social Impact) and the University of Queensland.
Pre-pandemic, homelessness in Australia had climbed by 14% to around 290,000 people in the four years to 2018-19.
Homelessness in Australia was temporarily suppressed by COVID-19 measures and had even fallen slightly in April-June 2020.
Unprecedented action by the states in the early months of the pandemic saw at least 33,000 rough sleepers and others booked into hotels and temporary accommodation around the country.
Many of those hotel-housed have since returned to street homelessness in Australia.
This is especially the case in inner city Adelaide and Sydney, where rough sleeping is once more on the rise. Only a minority of those housed in emergency accommodation will emerge from the crisis permanently housed, despite welcome action by the Victorian and NSW Governments to temporarily expand housing capacity by leasing private rental properties.
The extreme shortage of social and affordable housing will leave Australians facing a huge challenge to meet demand for housing.
Decades of belt-tightening have seen Australia’s social housing supply effectively halved since the 1990s.
This reflects a long-term policy failure by both levels of government and calls for a revived national social housing program as part of a wider Commonwealth-led reform package.