Vinnies NSW response to shocking homelessness statistics

The St Vincent de Paul Society is calling for urgent and immediate action on housing affordability in reaction to shocking ABS statistics on homelessness released today which show a 37% increase in people experiencing homelessness across New South Wales.

St Vincent de Paul Society NSW CEO Jack de Groot said: “Given the worrying increase in New South Wales homelessness figures, it’s time the State Government tells us its plan to deal with the issue.”

“The Premier understood the comprehensive need when she identified housing as her key issue – that is the need for all people to have access to safe and affordable housing.”

The Society says that whilst NSW has enjoyed the benefits of an upturned economy, the reality is that those living on the margins have been cut off from this prosperity and any opportunity that comes with it.

“The most vulnerable people in NSW have the right to home. We are in danger of pursuing policies of bread and circuses but showing little commitment in terms of impactful public policy to help solve the growing housing crisis. We see the ongoing focus on stadia redevelopment in a time of a housing and homelessness crisis.

“We can see that the increase in homelessness rates are being pushed by a 74% increase in overcrowding – this is a direct result of the lack of safe and affordable housing across our cities and towns.”

The Society has been calling the government to account on the housing affordability crisis and again calls for decisive action on affordable and social housing targets and a continued focus on cross-government solutions to homelessness.

The ABS statistics show that 74,000 people were supported by homelessness services in NSW in 2016/17, a 43% increase since 2013/14, and that the rates of homelessness for young people aged 19-24 increased by 92%, and  for older people by 24%.

“It is unacceptable that we continue on as normal when we know that more and more of our young people and far too many elderly women are falling into homelessness at rates never seen before – this should not be the type of norm that we accept.”

“We face profound and complex problems and we need the government to look at serious solutions.”