Only about three in every 100 women fleeing family violence received the long-term housing they desperately needed during the first two years of the pandemic, a new analysis of national data reveals.
In 2019-20, 39,408 people fleeing family violence came to homelessness services in need of long-term housing. Just 3.1 per cent were re-housed.
The following year – 2020-21 – demand increased slightly to 39,680, but even less (2.9 per cent) were re-housed.
Homelessness Australia also cross-referenced the demand identified in Nowhere to Go – a landmark report into homelessness completed by Equity Economics in July 2021 - against the Commonwealth’s commitments over the next five years.
Federally, 4,000 additional homes have been promised over five years (800 per year) to assist women and children fleeing violence. However, annual need equates to more than 16,810 homes, meaning new housing commitments only deliver about five per cent of what’s actually required.
Homelessness Australia chief executive, Kate Colvin, said while Australian governments’ recognition that housing is key to women’s safety in the national plan to end violence against women and children was important, the scale of ambition had to lift.
“A secure home is absolutely central to the safety of those fleeing family violence. Without a home, women and children must choose between homelessness and violence. This is not a choice anyone should have to make," Ms Colvin said.
“This is a basic moral proposition. We live in one of the wealthiest societies in the world and we have all the material and financial means we need for women and children to be safe. It’s a matter of priority.
“The Commonwealth has made important strides forward in recognising this problem and committing to take action by delivering additional social housing homes.
“However, we urgently need to expand the number of properties available to women to achieve safety.”
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