According to a landmark economic study measuring the economic fallout of COVID-19, homelessness will surge nine per cent and 24 per cent more Australian families will experience housing stress in 2021 due to the impact of the crisis.

However, if the Federal Government invests $7.2 billion in social housing, it could make a serious dent in homelessness, turbocharge the post-pandemic economy by $18.2 billion, and create 18,000 jobs per year over four years.

A $3 billion investment in Victoria alone would create 10,199 homes, 6,285 jobs and give the state economy a boost of $6.3 billion.

The findings are contained in a report released by Equity Economics, 'Double return: How investing in social housing can address the growing homelessness crisis and boost Australia’s economic recovery'. The Equity Economics report was commissioned by Everybody’s Home, a broad-based civil society coalition attempting to fix Australia’s broken housing system and end homelessness.

The report projects NSW will be hardest hit by rising housing stress, owing to the larger proportion of households that rely on two incomes to pay mortgages or rent. Housing stress is set to increase by 32.4% in Victoria, 41.9% in New South Wales and 23.7% in the ACT; in Tasmania, it will go up by 25.9%.

The number of people experiencing housing stress will more than double in inner Melbourne by 126%, with homelessness forecast to rise by 26.9%. Furthermore, Geelong will see a 23% rise in the number of people homeless and a 62.7% rise in people suffering from housing stress.

A secure, stable home is among our basic needs. With decent housing, we can fulfil our dreams, raise a family, and connect with our community. Take it away and even the most resilient person’s world will shatter into a million pieces,” said Kate Colvin, spokesperson for Everybody’s Home.

Homelessness and housing stress are a hothouse for anxiety, depression, and family breakdown. It’s in everyone’s interest to prevent this.

This modelling paints a frightening picture of the months and years ahead. No child should go to school unsure if their parents will lose the house before they get home. But that is the type of stress that’s about to be inflicted on thousands of Australian families and individuals.

It need not be this way. A Federal Government investment in social housing provides the most compelling social and economic return possible during an economic crisis. Social housing investment simultaneously attacks homelessness from multiple angles, giving more people a secure home, creating thousands of jobs and boosting economic demand.

Investing in social housing is a no-brainer that will boost prosperity and help tens of thousands of people whose lives have been destroyed by COVID.

Further information, please contact Julia Timms via 0457 517 355 or [email protected].