Public housing

Thousands of Queenslanders wait for social housing amid ‘crisis’


More than 2,000 households were added to the social housing registry in Queensland last year, although demand is leveling off according to the state government.

In June 2021, there were 27,933 applications for social housing, or 50,301 people.

That’s a jump from June 2020 but less than half of the increase from the previous year – when the register fell from 21,242 in June 2019 to 25,853.

Almost 6,000 of the households currently on hold are in the Brisbane City Council area and more than 3,000 in the Gold Coast City Council area.

There are approximately 2,000 households on hold in the local government areas of Moreton Bay, Townsville, Cairns and Logan and over 1,700 in the Sunshine Coast.

Of the requests, 20,408 were classified as ‘very needy’, which includes people who are homeless or have inadequate housing and have multiple complex factors that have a significant impact on their ability to access and maintain housing. .

“Considering the impact of COVID-19 on the housing market statewide, it is not surprising to see an increase in the number of people seeking help through the housing registry,” said Housing Minister Leeanne Enoch.

“What the numbers show this year is the start of a stabilization in the number of households added to the housing register each year.”

Housing Minister Leeanne Enoch said COVID-19 has had an impact on the market.(

ABC News: Stephen Cavanagh

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Ms Enoch said the government is providing other forms of housing assistance – including bond loans, rent subsidies and RentConnect services – indicating that in 2020/21 this will involve 205,000 forms of assistance. to housing.

In the last state budget, the government committed $ 1.9 billion over four years to increase social housing stocks and pledged to create a $ 1 billion housing investment fund.

“This is the largest concentrated investment in social housing in Queensland history and will launch 7,400 new social and affordable housing units across Queensland over the next four years,” said Ms. Enoch.

The Queensland Council of Social Service analyzed social housing registry figures for the past five years and said that during that time the list had grown by 78%.

He said the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander households on the register rose from 3,545 in 2017 to 9,403 in 2021, a huge overrepresentation.

“On average, Queenslanders in need of social housing wait more than 28 months,” said Managing Director Aimee McVeigh.

She said recent government funding commitments were “a good first step”, but the scale of the crisis required a marathon.

“We need the Commonwealth, State and Local Government to work together to resolve this crisis,” she said.

“The current level of investment will only cover 21% of the housing register and that does not take into account the likelihood of continued exponential increases.”

Little relief for crisis services

Kevin Mercer of the St Vincent de Paul Society Queensland, which provides crisis housing services, said demand has increased dramatically as the state emerges from the first COVID-19 lockdown last year.

He said inter-state migration has pushed up house prices, which has trickled down to rental markets.

“These people who have lower incomes or who may be on welfare are now being kicked off their properties and struggling to find a place to live,” he said.

“It has been very difficult for our members as there are really no housing options for people. We have found that a lot of people are just living in tents or in the back of their cars.

“These are people who work in low income families, their children go to school in the local community, they work in the local community and they can no longer afford to live there.”

Mr Mercer said short-term crisis housing continued to be used for long-term shelter because there was nowhere to go.

He said nothing had changed much in recent months.

“The state government budget announcements, I guess, have given all of us hope that there is substantial support there, that over time we will be able to build our own. social housing stock and our affordable housing stock, but in the short term, we don’t really see that anything has changed much.

“People still have difficulty finding accommodation.

“It takes time for this stock to be operational and to be able to offer it to people. “


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