Welfare groups expect next Tuesday’s census to record a significant increase in homelessness, particularly in regional areas, because of unemployment and high rents caused by the pandemic. Source: The Age.
Experts say as many as 20 per cent of homeless people weren’t counted in the 2016 census, which recorded 116,427 people without a safe, secure place to sleep that night.
Homelessness advocates and welfare groups are working with the Australian Bureau of Statistics to encourage anyone who is homeless – or living in insecure and uncertain housing – to complete the census form accurately. It is the only national record of homelessness.
St Vincent de Paul national president Claire Victory said homelessness was no longer that stereotypical person sleeping rough. “It’s people like you and me, just one life event away from a devastating change in circumstances – illness including mental ill health, relationship breakdown, loss of a spouse, domestic violence, or the loss of a job,” she said.
Mission Australia says the waitlist for social housing is ballooning, and there isn’t enough safe and secure housing.
To ensure this increased demand is reflected in the census, it is urging anyone who can’t say where they “usually live” to record their suburb as “none.”
Mission Australia’s chief executive James Toomey said contrary to popular belief, only seven per cent of families and people who were homeless were sleeping rough on the streets or in cars.
The vast majority were hidden from sight, couch-surfing or away from home due to eviction or a family dispute, and living in crisis accommodation, a shelter, refuge or a boarding house.
‘One life event away’: Homeless urged to complete the census (By Julie Power, The Age)