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On Australia’s Housing Boom and Homelessness

Prosperity is something countries aspire to have, and while Australia is definitely enjoying the perks of a thriving nation economically, there are still downside effects. One of which is the growth of homelessness. The number of rough sleepers or the term that refers to individuals who do not have a permanent place to live has blown up over the past few years. One of the reasons blamed for it is the housing boom. Many Australians are experiencing insecure housing, wherein they just couldn’t find a stable and safe place for them. They take advantage of public housing – going from short-term place to short-term place, looking for that stability.

Australia experienced a 28-year housing boom which made so many wealthy investors, but at the same time, it caused unfortunate issues. What are those? Let’s find out.

Housing Inequality

The housing boom worked in favor of the nation’s economy, but there’s a clear link between housing prices and homelessness according to housing experts. Housing boom would mean, more expensive house prices. Individuals with low income are forced to spend more of their money on housing than anything else – and that makes it difficult for them to keep up. Instead of making housing prices more affordable, the housing boom aggravated the housing inequality.

A Philosophical Shift

Housing was seen as a utilitarian concept because it is a tradition that has stemmed from history – and a right of every human being, at that. But because of the housing boom, along with perks, there came consequences. From a basic human right, the property became a financial asset because of its value. Financial assets are intangible such as stocks, bonds, but because of how much it costs properties have become one.

How did Australia get here?

There are complex reasons why this became such a huge crisis in Australia. There’s the housing boom, which I have mentioned earlier. But there’s also the matter with the federal government’s inaction since the 1980s. Because of this kind of neglect, the situation worsened. This neglect caused the following:

Lack of social housing

Difficulty in getting a home

Stock availability is not fit for purpose

These things made it hard for Australian residents to find affordable housing. The impact it has was not just on the property and rental accommodation, but on individuals as well – especially those living on a low income. Struggling individuals are then, led to finding accommodation by cycling from one emergency housing to another. But some are just unlucky, and this is the birth of rough sleeping.

The stock of national housing is something to consider because it has become a huge problem in the nation. It has barely grown in over 20 years while the population has been rapidly growing. According to studies, “from 2011 to 2018, homelessness increased by 14% nationally and rough sleeping – the most extreme form of homelessness – increased by 20%. In Melbourne, homelessness increased by 200% in that period.”

Also, “there are the legions of invisible homeless – riding trains, sleeping in their cars and couch surfing” but we will talk about that in our next blog.

The holidays are coming, which means, the freezing cold will soon be upon us. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have a safe place to keep them warm and dry; a place where they can celebrate the holiday festivities. It’s alarming that there are so many things we are not aware of.

We can make a difference – Xotel is committed to giving rough sleepers a chance to find affordable short-term accommodation. We are eager to extend our hand to those who cannot afford a house.

To know more, check out our website or Facebook page.

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