• Tristan Angelini

Facing the Next Decade: Homelessness and Poverty



For more than 20 years, the Victorian building industry has become one of the leaders in the construction industry – not just in the nation, but worldwide as well. The construction boom can be attributed to many factors, one of which is the growing economy due to an increase in population, which also affects the job rate in a positive way. Unfortunately, it is inevitable that prosperity may come at a cost.


There are several issues the nation has faced that resulted in challenges that will most likely carry on for the next decade. As we head into the 2020s and leave the 2010s behind, it is vital that we continue to take steps to make a change, especially in our society. We have mentioned before that experts note that part of the reason homelessness exists is because of the very same reason it has become such a booming economy. Although Australia is enjoying the perks of a booming economy, we tend to forget the other end of the spectrum – poverty.


Poverty

Poverty by definition is the state of being extremely poor to the point of not being able to afford basic necessities such as food and shelter. One of the results of poverty is homelessness. Yes, there are indeed other factors that cause this widespread issue, poverty is possibly the biggest reason for this. While it is not a problem exclusive in Australia, the homelessness rate in the country is alarming and has turned into a crisis. The link between poverty and homelessness has always been well known to all of us, but the evidence that these two are definitely connected is becoming more evident.


Inadequate Housing Supply

But poverty is not just the sole reason for homelessness. The government also plays a huge reason why the homelessness just skyrocketed. Like we have mentioned, Australia is currently enjoying a construction boom, however, affordable housing supply is still not just enough for everyone. “The actual level of homelessness is the outcome of how labour markets interact with social security systems and the supply and affordability of housing.”


Residential properties are so expensive in Australia that so many are struggling to find a safe and home for them, hence, the level of homelessness especially in main cities such as Sydney and Melbourne. Those who are lucky enough to find relatives and friends to take them in, don’t have to spend nights in the streets. However, support, as we all know is often limited.


What are the things Australia should work on this 2020 to make things better?


Funding

Supports – different kinds of them, are often under-funded even though we all know it works. This is something that should be continued and scaled up so more benefit from them.


Government Rent Subsidies

Government rent subsidies may improve affordability. It’s also a great tool to use for a wider coverage for the population. Unfortunately, there are still those who received subsidy that is still paying high rental fees. For this reason, a change in terms of subsidy design should take place that not only would help in affordability but strengthen tenant protections.


More Affordable Housing

As mentioned over and over again, the best solution to the housing affordability problem is to produce more for the population. However, the reality is not that simple. But this is something that should be prioritized this decade.


The economy is so unpredictable. There are also political interests and ideologies that are constantly competing, which is why it’s important that we, as a nation, find that balance for the common good of all.

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