New South Wales’ worsening housing crisis has been laid bare in grim new statistics revealing the demand for homelessness services has more than doubled in many locations in the last nine years.
The number of people seeking help for homelessness has risen across 58 of the state’s 128 local government areas in just the past year, according to an analysis of Australian Institute of Health and Welfare figures released by Homelessness NSW today.
Griffith in the state’s north-west saw 106 more people reaching out to homelessness services, bringing the total to 855 – or almost one in every 30 residents.
In the Central NSW town of Gilgandra, the number accessing homelessness services has skyrocketed more than seven-fold in the past nine years.
The neighbouring community of Narromine has seen a five-fold increase over the same period, while in the Upper Lachlan the numbers of homeless have almost tripled.
“NSW’s housing crisis is putting huge pressure on frontline homelessness services, with many struggling to keep up with rising demand,” Homelessness NSW CEO Dom Rowe said.
“LGAs across metropolitan Sydney and also suburban and rural areas are seeing increased levels of homelessness – showing that plummeting housing affordability is affecting people right across the state.”
Moreover, the figures in this analysis are likely an underrepresentation of the true numbers of homeless, with an estimated one in two people seeking help for homelessness in NSW unable to access at-capacity services.
“It is heartbreaking that women and their children fleeing domestic violence have to choose between staying in a dangerous home or sleeping in a tent or a car because they can’t get the help they need,” Mr Rowe said.
Homeless NSW is calling on the state government to increase its funding for homelessness support services, in addition to building more social housing and affordable homes.