State’s shame: Our worst areas for homelessness
Pockets of rural and regional Queensland are the worst hit by Australia's growing homelessness crisis, as new data reveals 22,000 Queenslanders will sleep rough on any given night, while nine of the country's top 20 most in-need locations are in the Sunshine State.
The staggering numbers released for National Homeless Week from peak body Homelessness Australia and national housing and homelessness campaign Everybody's Home, indicate rural and regional Queensland are the worst hit by homelessness, and account for the majority of homelessness in the state.
A total of 13,700 people from outside and near metro-areas are homeless in Queensland, while a further 8300 people within built-up areas also sleep rough.
According to Everybody's Home spokeswoman Kate Colvin, to be able to address the shortfall of viable housing options Queensland needs more than 101,000 social housing properties for people without a home, or those with insufficient incomes to be able to afford rent in the private market.
Queensland's largest demand for social housing is in the federal electorate of Leichhardt in the far north.
The region, which currently ranks in at number five as Australia's most in-need area for social housing, has 2400 homeless residents and needs an extra 5,300 social homes.
Ms Colvin said increasing the number of viable social housing in the most in-need areas will not only allow low or no income Queenslanders a place to live, but will also help to create large numbers of jobs.
"Where there's just not housing that people can afford, there is a much higher risk of homelessness," Ms Colvin said.
"The perfect solution at this time is social housing.
"The driver of homelessness is growing unemployment, and people that can't afford housing. Building social housing creates jobs in the very community's where there's that challenge of unemployment.
"The creation of jobs in these areas would not only make such a difference, but would also provide the community with places to live."
The Gold Coast (Moncrieff), Bundaberg (Hinkler) and Sunshine Coast (Longman) are also among Australia's worst affected areas for homelessness and social housing needs, ranking sixth, seventh and 11th respectively.
Ms Colvin said in many cases, the need for social housing in regions along the coast was substantial because of the desirable location.
She said the impact of COVID-19 was "a huge worry," as unemployment rates was expected to grow- particularly in areas which rely greatly on travel and tourism.
As today marks the start of this year's National Homeless Week, Everybody's Home is calling for Australian's to take action to help progress the push for social housing.
"Every Australian can call on the treasurer Josh Frydenberg to make this a priority," Ms Colvin said.
"People can also reach out to their own local MP right throughout QLD to encourage them to do what's best for their community."
For more information visit everybodyshome.com.au