Families face dire economic and social impacts for generations to come if Queensland’s record housing social housing waitlist is not urgently fixed.

New analysis by QCOSS shows close to one-third of the applications on the social housing register (8,113) are families with children, 90% of which are single-parent households. 83% of the register’s applications with children have been assessed by the state government as having a ‘high’ or ‘very high’ need of social housing, meaning private rentals are not an option.

Today, QCOSS and the state’s leading community organisations are calling for immediate federal funding for 5,000 social housing dwellings per year, an increase to Commonwealth Rent Assistance, a rental subsidy scheme and a national strategy to address the housing crisis.

QCOSS CEO Aimee McVeigh said families facing record house prices, low tenancy rates, soaring living costs and a housing shortage were being forced into unimaginable situations.

“Women and children are returning to domestic violence situations and living in cars with new-borns because there is nowhere else to go. We need more homes.”

“Children are going to school from cars, tents and motel rooms and the situation is getting worse. Everyone deserves a home and we are calling on all parties contesting next month’s federal election to ensure this is the case.”

In real terms, the Commonwealth has reduced its housing and homelessness spending by $1.1 billion per year. A decision to scrap the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS) by 2024 will also see an extra 10,000 Queensland families lose housing support.

Micah Projects CEO Karyn Walsh said their workers were seeing women returning with their kids to domestic violence situations and babies as young as two weeks old living out of cars.

“Post-COVID, the environment has completely changed.

“There is literally nowhere to go. We’re brokering more people into hotels because we do not want to see more children on the street. In some cases, women are returning home back to an abusive partner, which is just not something we as a society, which is committed to ending domestic violence against women, should be accepting.”

Save the Children Australia’s Managing Director of Australian Services, Matt Gardiner, said no parent should be forced to choose between living in an unsafe situation or becoming homeless with their child.

“Yet, this is exactly the choice that too many are being forced to make. We know that stable and secure housing is vital in helping children to thrive, now and into the future.”

Together, QCOSS and 11 community organisations are calling for increased federal funding, a continuation of the NRAS scheme, a national housing strategy, and increasing the rate of Commonwealth Rental Assistance by 50%, as part of the ‘Town of Nowhere’ campaign.

The campaign is named after Queensland’s social housing register. If all the people on Queensland’s social housing register came together it would comprise Queensland’s 5th largest town. The campaign supported by Micah Projects, St Vincent De Paul Society Queensland, Save the Children Australia, Kyabra Community Association, Centacare Central Queensland, Anglicare Central Queensland, Lifeline Darling Downs and South West Queensland, Wesley Mission Queensland, Common Ground Queensland, Footprints Community and Meals on Wheels Queensland.

28 April 2022