HOUSING THE HOMELESS.
Australia’s population is over 22million, comprising more than 8.4 million households. Viewed as a basic human right housing is a dominant feature of the economic and social landscape in Australia. The majority (68%) of households either own or are buying their home. (those aged over 65 the rate of home ownership increases to 84%). Over 25% rent (mostly privately), but around 5% of the population reside in social housing (Govt provided).
Some 1.25m households are in moderate housing stress (housing costs more than 30% of gross household income) with 420,000 households in severe housing stress (housing costs more than 50% of gross household income).
Social Housing provided by Government (often called public rental housing). There are two streams, Public Housing and Community Housing-all substantially funded by Government. Also includes Indigenous Housing (most States manage Indigenous Housing separately)
Waiting Lists. In NSW some 27% of those on the waiting list are regarded as priority. Low income households make up 98% of those in public rental housing. Consistent with this less than half, 48% of adults living in public rental housing were in the labour force. Because those in greatest need get priority we find “those not in the labour force” includes those unable to work due to age, disability or permanent medical condition. Public rental housing provides an important safety net for these people and also housing affordability is a key issue with rents set so that these households pay less than 30% of their income in rent.
(Source Report of Australian Institute of Health and Welfare on Housing Assistance in Australia June 2011)
Jesus Cares comment: Those we meet who are homeless, find it very difficult to get their life back together, find work etc., until they find secure housing. Whilst governments over the past few years have provided substantial funding for Public Housing, it is never enough and waiting lists seem to push out further. It is very clear that it is tough out there- however we do hear good news stories from time to time. Some of our street friends have been housed, with others hopeful of housing in the not too distant future. We value your prayers that many of our homeless friends will be housed and whilst housing is not the only issue they have, secure housing is a big first step in getting their life back together.
A Christmas donation to aid the homeless in Australia would be welcome at Jesus Cares Refuge Inc. P.O. Box 15; Pennant Hills, NSW 1715.