Mission Australia calls for governments to address rising homelessness figures

Mission Australia calls for governments to address rising homelessness figures

Mission Australia’s CEO Sharon Callister is calling for the Commonwealth and State and Territory governments to commit to building almost one million new social and affordable homes over 20 years.

The call comes in response to new ABS 2021 Census Homelessness data recording more than 122,000 people are experiencing homelessness in Australia – an increase since the 2016 Census counted 116,000 people experiencing homelessness.

Sharon Callister is Mission Australia’s CEO.

“I’m not surprised that Australia’s homelessness figures have increased to more than 122,000. Our services and those we work with across the sector have certainly seen a surge in homelessness in recent years,” Ms Callister said.

“Behind these numbers are thousands of men, women and children who are living in the most precarious situations, forced to sleep in severely overcrowded dwellings, on a couch at a friend’s house, or even one of the six percent who are rough sleeping on the street or in a car.”

“Australia needs a long-term and far greater commitment from governments to build new social and affordable homes to meet the stark shortfall. This is a nationwide issue that needs a commitment from everyone – all governments, the corporate sector, charities and individuals if we are to have any hope of ending homelessness in Australia.”

Homelessness across the nation has risen by five percent between the 2016 and 2021 Censuses. The 2021 statistics recorded 122,494 people going without a safe and secure place to call home on any given night in Australia, with the majority experiencing hidden homelessness: staying in severely overcrowded dwellings, refuges, boarding houses, or temporarily with friends or family on Census night.

The rise in homelessness was largely driven by more people accessing temporary accommodation likely associated with measures put in place by local and state governments in response to COVID-19.

Around six percent of the homeless population are rough sleeping.

One in six or nearly 20,000 people who are homeless are aged 55 years and over, an increase of four percent since the 2016 Census. There are 942 young people aged 12-18 who are couch surfing on any given night.


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