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The housing crisis in Australia, which is mostly hidden, is getting worse.

In the past year, Belinda has tried to rent more than 100 homes but has been turned down every time.

The 39-year-old Australian single mother of four now lives in a temporary shelter in Campbelltown, southwest of Sydney. She has six months to find a home that costs less than A$500 ($340) a week, or she could end up sleeping on the streets.


“I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do next.” I don’t really want to get rid of all the furniture in my house. “I really don’t want to get rid of my cat or my dog,” said Belinda. “To be honest, it is a little bit scary.”

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In the past few years, rents have gone up steadily, interest rates have gone up eight times in a row, living costs have gone up, and there have been a number of terrible natural disasters. All of these things have made what was already one of the most expensive rental markets in the world even worse.

The annual Rental Affordability Index report from SGS Economics and Planning shows that the cost of renting is going up in every state capital city this year.

According to another report by the non-profit welfare group Anglicare, only 0.1% of rentals in Australia are affordable for couples without jobs and single parents on government aid.

People who make the minimum wage aren’t doing much better because their wages don’t keep up with rising rents. The property agency Savills has put Sydney in the top 10 most expensive places to rent in the world, above cities like Miami and Paris.


In this year’s International Housing Affordability Report by Demographia, Sydney was ranked as the second-least affordable housing market in the world, right behind Hong Kong.

“If you only have one job, you can’t buy a house on your own,” said Maria, 46, who lives in a programme run by the non-profit Dignity in Campbelltown.

“When I leave here, it will be hard for me to be on my own.” “Let’s be honest about that.”

The number of places to rent is at its lowest level in 20 years. This puts renters up against a record number of people who can’t afford to buy a home because house prices have gone up so much.

Cameron Kusher, Director of Economic Research at data firm PropTrack, said, “At the lower end of the market, where people have lower incomes, the number of rental units available to them is going down quite a bit.” This could lead to more people becoming homeless.



Since the borders reopened this year, there have been more people moving in, which has increased demand. Competition for properties has led to bidding wars for rentals. Last week, the government of New South Wales said that it would stop letting people bid on rentals like an auction.

Welfare groups and renters told Reuters that home owners are evicting renters because they want to raise rents to keep up with rising inflation, which is at a 32-year high.

Dignity’s CEO, Suzanne Hopman, told Reuters that this Christmas could be their busiest ever because more and more people are looking for a place to stay, food, and other help.

Hopman, whose shelter in Campbelltown is already full, said, “We’re afraid there’s going to be a wave of homeless people.”

“Every story of homelessness is different, but one thing we’re noticing now is that the cost of living and rising rents have made it harder for people who were already at risk of being homeless to find a place to live, and there aren’t enough homes,” she said.

Many people who lose their homes end up living in cars or camper vans, where they can’t be seen by society, the government, or the media.

In “Under Cover,” a feature-length documentary by filmmaker Sue Thomson and producer Adam Farrington-Williams, the lives of dozens of women over 50 who have been homeless are shown.

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“They are the homeless people who hide.” “There are a lot of things that led to it, like unequal pay between men and women, that need to be taken into account when looking at homelessness,” said Thomson.

This year, Australia’s worst floods ever hit the east of the country. About 40,000 people had to leave their homes because of the floods, which made the housing crisis worse.


The owners of rental properties say that rising costs mean they have to raise rents.

“Cost pressures include rising interest rates, rising maintenance costs, and other costs like strata and council fees,” said Debra Beck-Mewing, vice president of the Property Owners Association of New South Wales and a strategic buyer’s agent.

Beck-Mewing said that rents were going up again after many property owners lowered them during COVID. He also said that rents are likely to keep going up in 2023 because immigration allowances were raised by almost one-third, which made more people want to rent.

“We already have a huge lack of rental homes because the government keeps making it hard for investors to get into the market.” “And now that more people are moving, the rental problem will keep getting worse,” said Beck-Mewing.

The supply of public and affordable housing has also not kept up with demand.

According to a report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), there were 440,200 social housing units in the whole country as of June 2021. This was an increase of less than 1% from the year before. People who need social housing now have to wait up to 10 years.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has said that he will find a solution. In October, he announced a national housing accord that includes a grant of $350 million to build 10,000 affordable homes.

The government has asked the $3.3 trillion pension fund industry to help build affordable homes, but some funds and experts are sceptical.

Trina Jones from Homelessness New South Wales said that for the move to work, the homes need to be like social and affordable housing and not built to make money.

“We know there are families sleeping in tents or cars, and there are apprentices who can’t keep their jobs because they are homeless,” Jones said.

“It starts with a home, and we need to invest in that safety net and help people so that they only have to be homeless once and don’t have to do it again.”

1 dollar equals 1.4751 Australian dollars.


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