A Homelessness and Housing Crisis during the pandemic
The COVID-19 crisis brought a wider recognition of the importance of stable housing as critical to public health.
We know that people who are experiencing homelessness are already vulnerable and at a higher risk of experiencing the severity of COVID-19 because of existing poor health. Finding safe and secure places for people to stay temporarily is always challenging in regional areas, but the pandemic environment made it a priority to protect people experiencing homelessness, particularly those sleeping rough.
Housing - and its quality, stability, affordability, and location - acts as a safeguard for health and wellbeing. You cannot separate your health from where you live. Though social factors like food security, housing instability and healthcare costs are often talked about in isolated terms they are interconnected, and the pandemic is highlighting those connections.
The COVID-19 crisis delivered a generational threat of unemployment which will have lasting effects not just on housing security but on mental and physical health, family violence and many other social factors.
Individuals and families on a low income are facing particular challenges around being able to purchase and afford enough basic supplies to ensure they are prepared during the crisis and that they don’t have the means to buy extra, particularly after the Federal Government’s reduction in the coronavirus supplement. Coupled with a reduction in income from illness or loss of employment or a reduction in hours worked means their ability to pay the rent and sustain a tenancy is at risk during this pandemic, and this is not a time to be without a home.