- The research found the greatest number of people at-risk of homelessness are in NSW, VIC, and QLD
- The highest rates of risk per 10,000 are in the NT, followed by QLD, and SA
- The suburbs with the highest rates of people at risk are in remote areas and in small pockets of capital cities
Between 1.5 and 2 million Australian renters (aged 15 and above) are at risk of homelessness, according to a new report by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute.
The research found the greatest number of people at-risk of homelessness are in New South Wales, Victoria, and Queensland, the three most populous states.
However, the highest rates of risk per 10,000 are in the Northern Territory, followed by Queensland, and South Australia. The lowest rates of risk are in the Australian Capital Territory, followed by Victoria.
“A person is considered at-risk of homelessness if they live in rental housing and are experiencing at least two of the following: low-income; vulnerability to discrimination; low social resources and supports; needing support to access or maintain a living situation (due to chronic ill health, disability, mental illness or problematic use of alcohol and other drugs); and are in a tight housing market.”
Launch Housing and Swinburne University post-doctoral research fellow Deborah Batterham
The suburbs with the highest rates of people at risk are in remote areas and in small pockets of capital cities, while the greatest number of people at-risk of homelessness are living in greater capital cities on the eastern coast of Australia.
Property policy development
The report suggests increasing the supply of rental housing affordable to those on low-incomes.
“The lack of affordable rental housing for low-income households, be it private rental or social housing, intersects with the low-incomes of those at-risk amplifying the multiple and intersecting forms of disadvantage they experience,” states the report.
The report suggested private rental access programs which provide ongoing rent subsidies for people at imminent risk of homelessness, as well as the payment of rent arrears and advocacy with landlords, are services which could be targeted to areas with larger numbers of people at-risk.
Dr Batterham said, “We can’t reduce homelessness by solely responding to people when they present to homelessness services, instead we have to turn off the tap up stream, as it were, by delivering preventative interventions that are tailored for specific areas.
“Understanding the population at-risk of homelessness is critical in designing and implementing such interventions.”
The report found those at risk of homelessness are more likely to be female; Indigenous; living in a lone person or lone parent household; identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual; and report fair or poor health. Those at-risk have lower levels of educational attainment, are more likely to report difficulty paying bills and rent on time, and are more likely to experience a range of indicators of material deprivation such as skipping meals and being unable to heat their home.
Areas with greatest rate of homelessness risk
New South Wales
|Ashcroft – Busby – Miller||18.2%|
|Tamworth – West||17.9%|
|Bidwill – Hebersham – Emerton||17.7%|
|Mount Hutton – Windale||17.1%|
|Shortland – Jesmond||16.8%|
|Bourke – Brewarrina||16.8%|
|Kowanyama – Pormpuraaw||47.5%|
|Torres Strait Islands||43.4%|
|Smithfield – Elizabeth North||20.4%|
|Hackham West – Huntfield Heights||16.0%|
|Enfield – Blair Athol||15.8%|
|Derby – West Kimberley||30.0%|
|Leinster – Leonora||20.8%|
|Withers – Usher||16.5%|
|Bentley – Wilson – St James||16.4%|
|Bridgewater – Gagebrook||23.1%|
|Acton – Upper Burnie||16.3%|
|Newnham – Mayfield||16.2%|
|Mornington – Warrane||15.9%|
|Yuendumu – Anmatjere||46%|
*Per 10,000 people