Homelessness and social housing need

New heatmaps show homelessness crisis and social housing shortage exist in every federal electorate in WA.

New data shows that the number of people without a home in Western Australia, and the social housing needed to end homelessness, is an issue that spreads throughout the state across all metropolitan and rural federal electorates.

Interactive Heatmaps

To launch Homelessness Week 2020, national homelessness peak Homelessness Australia and national housing and homelessness campaign Everybody’s Home have released interactive heatmaps that show how wide-spread homelessness is and how drastically Western Australia needs more social housing.

According to the data, Western Australia had a social housing shortfall of 38,500 properties and 9,100 people were homeless on any given night in WA before COVID-19. The electorate of Canning on Perth’s southern fringes has the highest need for social housing in Western Australia with a shortfall of 3,200 properties, followed by Brand and the south-west electorate of Forrest.

Homelessness and the need for social housing will only increase once the full economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is factored in. The electorates of Forrest, O’Connor and Curtin have been hit hardest by coronavirus job losses.

Rural and Metropolitan Homelessness

Chair of Homelessness Australia Jenny Smith said the heatmaps show that homelessness is a problem in all Western Australian communities, whether they are rural or metropolitan.

“People often think homelessness is an issue mainly in cities and CBDs, but the maps show that to be a myth,” said Ms Smith.

“The lack of housing that people can afford is not only the biggest cause of homelessness, but it also prevents people escaping from homelessness.”

Everybody’s Home spokesperson Kate Colvin said the heatmaps show every electorate has a shortfall in social housing and called on the Federal Government to address this shortfall.

“Australia urgently needs the Morrison Government to fix the national social housing shortfall, but it can also give Australia’s economy a much-needed boost in the process by creating construction jobs as stimulus,” said Ms Colvin.

As part of Homelessness Week, Homelessness Australia and Everybody’s Home are calling on all federal MPs to sign a social housing pledge committing to investment in social housing to help end homelessness, and also deliver urgently needed jobs.

Social Housing Acceleration Program

A coalition of housing advocacy groups has developed the Social Housing Acceleration and Renovation Program (SHARP). The SHARP details how building 30,000 social homes over the next four years will create up to 18,000 jobs per year while combatting homelessness.

“The growth in unemployment as a consequence of COVID-19 and cuts to social security payments will drive further increases in homelessness. By investing in social housing, the government will not only give more people a home but will also keep more people in a job,” said Ms Smith.

“We have more than 300 member organisations that will be meeting with their local MPs to discuss the numbers in their electorates and how they can support the call for urgent investment in social housing,” said Ms Colvin.

“This data shows homelessness effects all electorates and we know social housing is the most effective solution, so we hope to see every MP sign up.”

Click on the map to view WA Heat Map