The Australian Homelessness Monitor 2020 (the Monitor) is an in-depth, independent analysis examining the changes in the scale and nature of homelessness in Australia, as well as how social, economic and policy drivers influence these changes.
This report presents an independent analysis of homelessness in Australia. It investigates the changing scale and nature of the problem, and assesses recent policy and practice developments seen in response. Combining quantitative and qualitative analysis, the report draws on existing published sources, as well as on primary research involving interviews with government and NGO stakeholders, and with people experiencing homelessness.
While concentrating primarily on the period 2017–2020, the original research for this report was conducted in the first half of 2020, in the first six months of COVID-19. Accordingly, we examine not only the initial impacts of the pandemic on housing markets and homelessness, but also the official homelessness policy and practice responses implemented to address the public health emergency. The report shows that as Federal and State governments rapidly moved to respond to the health and economic crisis, the situation of people experiencing homelessness shot up the political and policy agenda.
- In the mid-2010s, rising street homelessness appears to have crossed a threshold, prompting new state/territory government recognition of the issue as a high priority policy challenge, and inducing significantly stepped-up intervention to tackle it.
- While COVID-19 triggered extraordinary and impressive official action in temporarily accommodating people experiencing homelessness, at this stage it appears that only a minority will benefit from permanent housing secured through the process.
- Despite its fundamental contribution to rising homelessness, more broadly, Australian governments have continued to ignore or downplay the fundamental failings of our housing system and the need for greater official engagement and investment.