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Vinnies calls for national investment in social housing

National

St Vincent de Paul Society National Council has called on the Federal Government to establish a social housing fund of $10 billion to address the chronic shortage of safe, affordable housing in Australia.

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Speaking during National Homelessness Week, CEO Toby oConnor said a National Housing Strategy was needed to address the shortfall of more than 400,000 dwellings nationally.

“Such a strategy will bring consistency, commitment and accountability to tackling housing stress and homelessness in Australia,” Mr oConnor said.

“The Commonwealth Rent Assistance Scheme has fallen behind average rents over the past two decades. It should be increased by at least 30 per cent and appropriately indexed.

“In the face of unprecedented projected unemployment, all governments must work to urgently address chronic housing shortage, rental stress and homelessness which have been on the rise for the last two decades but will escalate as the impact of COVID-19 deepens.

“Such a move will stimulate the economy and provide homes for thousands of people, many of whom have lost or will lose their livelihood overnight.”

Mr oConnor said currently in Australia 190,000 households are on waiting lists for social housing and there are more than one million low-income households (2.65 million people) – a figure that has doubled over the past two decades.

“Two-thirds of vulnerable private renters are currently in rental stress, and 170,000 households have less than $250 to survive on each week after paying rent,” he said.

“The specialist homelessness service system is turning away 254 people each day.

“Half of households experiencing rental stress are still experiencing rental stress four years later.

“We join the chorus of a lot of other sensible people calling for this urgent investment which will stimulate the economy and proved sorely needed housing stock.”

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