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Regional NSW rental affordability crisis fuelling youth homelessness

An urgent investment in social housing is needed to combat the rental affordability crisis in regional NSW which is fuelling youth homelessness.

Everybody’s Home - a national campaign to end homelessness said today, on Youth Homelessness Matters Day, the Federal Government needs to take action to make housing easier for young Australians to access.

One of main reasons young people seek support from homelessness services is issues with housing or finance.

Meanwhile, in regional NSW, the cost of rental houses continues to rise significantly with the South Coast experiencing a 25.7% increase over the past year

“Young people who are forced to leave their homes, or are left without homes through no fault of their own, cannot simply get a job that pays them enough to afford adequate accommodation,” Everybody’s Home national spokesperson Kate Colvin said.

“The rising cost of rental properties pushes stable housing further out of reach for young workers who are increasingly in housing stress.

“The housing affordability crisis is even more dire for those on Youth Allowance. A person on Youth Allowance looking for a share house can afford less than one per cent of rentals.

“Across all of Australia, just four rental listings out of 77,000 in December last year were affordable to someone on Youth Allowance.

“With youth unemployment at 12.9 per cent, many have no choice but to rely on welfare, but it is clearly not enough to secure housing.

“Further, the costs to the Australian economy of health services associated with young people experiencing homelessness is an average of $8,505 per person per year or $355 million across all young people aged 15-24 accessing Special Homelessness Services.

“Building social and affordable housing is crucial to ending youth homelessness and would be a major long-term cost-saving measure.

Further facts on Australia’s rental affordability crisis and youth homelessness:

  • According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, young people make up 24 per cent of the homeless population. At the last Census, 27,680 young people (12 to 24) were counted as homeless

  • Of more than 870,000 Australians who lost their jobs in the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic, 332,200 or 38 per cent, were young Australians aged 15 to 24

  • More than half of young people under 24 continue to experience housing stress even after receiving government-funded rental support, according to the Productivity Commission

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