Federal Government spending on social housing and homelessness has declined in real terms



5 August 2019

A new analysis by Homelessness Australia reveals that the Federal Government’s investment in social housing and homelessness has been falling in real terms.

Federal Government spending in 2014-15 was $1.43 billion. Allowing for growth in the Australian population and inflation, this amount should have grown to $1.65 billion in 2019-20 to have the same real value.

But it only rose to $1.56 billion, representing a shortfall of $82 million. This shortfall will grow to $96 million next year.

During Homelessness Week – 4 August to 10 August – Homelessness Australia is calling on the Federal Government to invest in social housing to address this national crisis.

“Now is not the time to be doing less in real terms,” said Homelessness Australia Chair Jenny Smith.

“On any given night, 116,000 Australians are homeless and the situation is getting worse every day. Increasing homelessness is driven by the high and rising costs of private rentals and long social housing waitlists, creating bottlenecks in crisis accommodation.

“People are living in accommodation intended for short-term relief for months or even years because there’s no-where else to go, no exit point.

“The theme of this year’s Homelessness Week is Housing Ends Homelessness.

“We are calling on the Federal Government to invest more in social housing and to lead a process that engages all three levels of government – federal, state and local – in order to establish national and state-based homelessness plans with which to make some progress.”

 

 

2014-15

2015-16

2016-17

2017-18

2018-19

2019-20

2020-21

Social housing and homelessness spending needed to match population growth and inflation ($million)

        1,432.5

    1,471.3

    1,514.3

    1,552.5

     1,602.3

     1,646.6

       1,693.7

Actual social housing and homelessness spending, nominal dollars ($million)

        1,432.5

    1,439.1

    1,457.6

    1,477.2

     1,535.8

     1,564.9

       1,597.6

Loss in real value ($million)

               –  

– 32.2

– 56.7

– 75.3

– 66.5

– 81.7

–  96.1

 

FACTS:

• People experiencing homelessness on any given night rose 14% in the five years to 2016, to 116,427 (ABS)
• The number of people asking for help each year from specialist homelessness service rose 18% in the five years to 2018, to 288,795 (AIHW SHSC)
• The number of people seeking help each year from homeless services who were sleeping rough rose 31% in the five years to 2018, to 23,911 (AIHW SHSC)