The Women's Electoral Lobby in NSW says COVID is accelerating the state's social housing crisis and tens of thousands of unseen vulnerable homeless women are being acutely impacted by the government's failure to act.
NSW WEL Executive Council member Dr Jane Bullen recently noted that older women are the fastest growing group of people experiencing homelessness in Australia, and the rate of increase is spiralling in NSW.
“NSW has the highest housing prices in Australia, the highest increases in homelessness and the unmet need," Dr Bullen said. “Homelessness services throughout NSW are struggling with increased demand due to rising rents for people on low incomes and low vacancy rates, and they are turning away more clients than they can support in crisis accommodation - 2 in 3 clients are unable to access long term housing even when supported by a homelessness service.”
“Housing costs are skyrocketing in cities and regions, and the NSW 2021-22 Budget ignored the significance of the problem for women struggling with homelessness related to domestic violence, poverty and insecure employment”.
Between 2013/14 and 2016/17, NSW saw an 88 per cent growth in the number of women over the age of 55 years accessing homelessness services. In NSW the number of women aged 55 and over experiencing homelessness increased between 2011 and 2016 by 48% and the number between 65 and 74 increased by a staggering 78%.
Tasmania is the state hardest hit by Australia's mortgage crisis, according to Consumer group CHOICE. Data from Digital Finance Analytics shows that 56% of households with a mortgage in Tasmania are deemed to be in mortgage stress.*
Launceston leads the list with over 4700 households on the brink.
"56% of Tasmanians with a mortgage are in mortgage stress. Tasmania was once one of the most affordable places in the country to live and now communities like Launceston are living on the brink," says CHOICE banking policy expert, Patrick Veyret.
"Banks profit from trapping people in an endless cycle of debt. Financial counsellors regularly report that people will often forgo spending money on essentials such as utilities and food before they default on their mortgage.
The Banking Royal Commission was clear: lenders routinely broke safe lending laws and trapped people into unaffordable loans. Commissioner Hayne recommended that safe lending laws be enforced, not dismantled. Safe lending laws are an essential consumer protection to ensure that banks don't load people up with excessive debt, " says Mr Veyret.
*Data from Digital Finance Analytics, collected in April 2021.
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