As Australians get set to enjoy a COVID-19 free summer, the economic and social impacts of the pandemic remain. In this report Equity Economics estimates that, compared to pre-pandemic levels, the long tale of high unemployment will lead to a:
- 24 per cent increase in the number of Australian families under housing stress; and
- 9 per cent increase in the number of Australians experiencing homelessness.
Leading economists have backed greater investments in social housing ahead of all other forms of economic stimulus for a reason - not only does it support economic growth today, it supports future prosperity by addressing entrenched disadvantage.
In the long term, Equity Economics estimates that an additional 30,000 social housing units would reduce the number of Australians experiencing homelessness by around 4,500 per year and save $135 million in direct support costs.
The report compares conditions in labour market regions across Australia from February 2020 (pre-pandemic) to June 2021 (post-pandemic). It finds some areas will be more impacted than others by rising unemployment, homelessness and housing stress. The impact on employment and economic growth from the proposed increase in social housing investment is also estimated.
The modelling demonstrates that while not all of Australia will feel the negative impacts of rising levels of homelessness and housing insecurity, all can benefit from a greater investment in social housing to drive economic recovery and address existing disadvantage.