Alarming new report lays bare Queensland’s housing crisis

A new report – COVID-19 Rental Housing and Homelessness Impacts: an initial analysis – from ACOSS and UNSW has found that renters in Queensland are feeling the pinch.

Between March and June quarters in 2020, renters across Australia saw a 5 per cent decrease in their income while their housing costs only decreased by 0.5 per cent, in contrast to mortgage holders’ income decreasing by 0.2 per cent while their housing costs decreased by 5 per cent.

Between March and September 2020, median rent decreases were largely confined to housing stock in inner-Brisbane and the Gold Coast, while regional areas of the state saw substantial rent increases.

Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS) CEO Aimee McVeigh said, “Queensland is facing a housing crisis.”

“More than half a million Queenslanders are surviving on the COVID supplement or JobKeeper subsidy which is due to end in March. We already don’t have enough social housing stock to help the 26,400 families on social housing waitlist, and people are pitching tents in parks in regional Queensland because they can’t find a place to rent and emergency accommodation providers are full. The system is above capacity.

“The federal and state governments did the right thing last year by increasing income support payments, providing emergency housing and enacting an eviction moratorium, but this report shows that the removal of those measures is worsening the crisis.

“People are facing homelessness for the first time in their lives. To stop this crisis before it worsens, the federal government needs to permanently raise the rate of JobSeeker and join the Queensland Government in making a substantial investment in social housing.”

The report also highlighted a very encouraging outcome from the Queensland Government’s COVID emergency accommodation response.

Of the 3,810 people who departed from the state government’s COVID-19 emergency accommodation arrangements up to September last year, 1,774 were housed in social housing (of which 65.7 per cent were former rough sleepers), 1,632 were assisted into a private tenancy agreement (of which 61 per cent former rough sleepers), and 404 people self-discharged.

“This is an outstanding result that sees Queensland deliver well above the national average. Of the 4,777 people who found housing stability after leaving COVID emergency accommodation in Australia, Queensland housed 71 per cent of them,” said Ms McVeigh.

“This shows that when community services, housing providers and government work together, we can end homelessness. We have the solutions to this housing crisis – it’s time that the Government put them in place.”

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Key Queensland findings from the ACOSS/UNSW report:

  • Median rent decreases in Queensland were largely confined to apartment stock in inner-Brisbane (1 bedroom unit rents decreased by 6 per cent) and the Gold Coast.
  • For 2-bedroom units, rents increased on the Sunshine Coast (+2.6 per cent), Mackay (+3.4 per cent) and Rockhampton (+4.3 per cent).
  • For 3-bedroom houses, rents increased in Gladstone (+4 per cent), Rockhampton (+3.2 per cent), Caboolture (+2.9 per cent) and Hervey Bay (+2.9 per cent).
  • Residential vacancy rates decreased in most regions in Queensland last year, with the Sunshine Coast’s rate plunging to below 0.5 per cent in October 2020.

Emergency accommodation findings:

  • Of the 3,810 people who departed from the state government’s COVID-19 emergency accommodation arrangements up to September last year:
    • 1,774 were housed in social housing (of which 65.7 per cent were former rough sleepers)
    • 1,632 were assisted into a private tenancy agreement (of which 61 per cent were former rough sleepers)
    • 404 people self-discharged.
  • 4,777 people found housing stability (through social housing or private rental agreements) upon departure from COVID-19 emergency accommodation arrangements.
    • Of those 4,777 people who found housing stability, 3,406 (71 per cent) were in Queensland.

The ACOSS/UNSW report was also supported by QShelter, Mission Australia and National Shelter.

18 February 2021 |Cohort: |Service type: ,