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Thursday, 12 August 2021
Page: 8161


Ms SHARKIE (Mayo) (13:42): It's a sad fact that in our nation there's an estimated shortfall of 650,000 affordable homes and there were some 116,000 Australians who didn't have a roof over their head during last week's Homelessness Week. Of these missing homes, 2,100 are in Mayo. In the Willunga area alone, St Vincent de Paul receive 900 requests each year for emergency assistance. Many are from people who are couch surfing and living in their cars.

The boom in rental prices and wage stagnation has put more at risk of homelessness, particularly older women. Homelessness can happen to anyone. COVID-19 has shown how rapidly a person's circumstances can change with catastrophic results. The lack of affordable housing is exacerbated by the ageing out of remaining dwellings that were part of the National Rental Affordability Scheme, known as NRAS, which will end in 2026. We need a new NRAS.

An Anglicare survey shows that, of 74,000 rental listings advertised nationally, only three were available for jobseekers and not one was available for a person on youth allowance. I join others in urgently calling for all governments, state and federal, to work together to ensure that we have resources for affordable housing to address homelessness, whether through an increase to the rental allowance, a national housing strategy or more federal social housing fund support. I really do urge this government to work on this now.