Shocking effect of JobSeeker changes
Australia's homeless rate will surge by 9 per cent next year when cuts to the JobSeeker payment's coronavirus supplement heap more misery on those living below the poverty line, a new report predicts.
On January 1, the coronavirus supplement for JobSeeker - which rose to $550 a fortnight during the pandemic - will be slashed from $250 to $150.
During the three-month period after New Year's Day, a single person with no children will be paid $357.85 a week.
The supplement will then scrapped altogether on March 31, leaving a single person with no children on $282.5 a week - or $40 a day.
The Australian Council of Social Service defines the national poverty line as $457 a week for a single adult.
Combined with a national unemployment rate of 7 per cent, 7500 more people are projected to become homeless, up from 83,000, according to figures from analytics firm Equity Economics commissioned by social housing organisation Everybody's Home.
NSW will be the hardest hit, with homelessness forecast to rise by 19.1 per cent, followed by 13.1 per cent in Victoria and 14.1 per cent in Tasmania.
"The combination of a decline in welfare payments and a long tail of unemployment is going to have a devastating effect on already vulnerable Australians," Everybody's Home spokeswoman Kate Colvin told NCA NewsWire.
"We were alarmed to see the federal parliament (last week) approve the proposed cuts to the coronavirus supplement coming in December because a lot of new families will be facing homelessness.
"Homelessness and housing stress are a hothouse for anxiety, depression, and family breakdown and this modelling paints a frightening picture of the months and years ahead."
In addition to homelessness, mortgage and rental payment stress is projected to increase 24 per cent across the nation.
Mortgage stress is defined as when more than 30 per cent of a household's combined income is dedicated to paying the mortgage.
"Home stress leads to an inability to afford other bills," Ms Colvin said. "That includes struggling to afford decent food or to meet medical bills. If a car breaks down, that could be a complete disaster because that person then can't get to work. It creates huge amounts of mental stress."
The solution, according to Everybody's Home, is a $7 billion federal investment in social housing.
The organisation believes social housing would not only curb homelessness, but create 18,000 jobs (in the construction of those homes) over a four-year period and provide an $18.2 billion boost to the economy.
Assistant Minister for Community Housing and Homelessness Luke Howarth said the Morrison government had allocated about $8.4 billion in housing and homelessness initiatives. This included about $1.6 billion delivered to states to improve access to housing, and almost $5.5 billion to 1.7 million individuals and families for rent.
The Coalition has also increased the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC) low cost finance cap from $2 billion to $3 billion to support construction of new affordable houses.
HOMELESSNESS AND HOUSING STRESS PROJECTIONS BY STATE
• Predicted 19.1 per cent rise in homelessness
• In Sydney's inner west, homelessness will rise by 27.1 per cent
• In the Baulkham Hills and Hawkesbury region of NSW, homelessness will surge by 33.4 per cent
• In NSW's far west and Orana regions, homelessness will rise by 59.3 per cent.
• 13.1 per cent increase in homelessness, with a 26.9 per cent rise in inner Melbourne
• Geelong will see a 23 per cent rise in homelessness.
• 3.6 per cent state increase in homelessness, with a 31.9 per cent increase in central Queensland.
• 1.9 per cent increase in homelessness.
• In Mandurah, homelessness is set to rise by 54.9 per cent and 15.8 per cent in Perth's southeast.
• A 14.1 increase in homelessness.
• A 7.8 per cent increase in homelessness.
• A 10.2 per cent increase in housing stress
• In Darwin, the number of families experiencing housing stress will rise by 24.3 per cent.
Originally published as Shocking effect of JobSeeker changes