Temporary increase in income support led to marked drop in homelessness

Data released today by Homelessness Australia finds that when the Government doubled income support payments last year with the Coronavirus Supplement, homelessness dropped by 5%.

The evidence shows that lifting income support payments makes it easier for people to keep a roof over their head and put food on the table.

As the Coronavirus Supplement was gradually withdrawn, the number of people receiving homelessness services steadily grew, and now exceeds pre-pandemic levels.

ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said: “The actions taken by Government last year showed what our society could look like if we are serious about addressing poverty. More adequate income support meant people could cover the basics like housing and food, and not constantly worry about how to pay the next bill.

“Now that the Coronavirus Supplement has been removed and JobSeeker has been cut back  to just $45 a day, we’re essentially back at square one, with homelessness above what it was pre-pandemic.

“We urge the Federal Government to increase JobSeeker and related payments to at least $69 a day, and boost Commonwealth Rent Assistance by 50% to ensure people can keep a roof over their head.

“The Federal Government must also provide supplementary payments for people with disability and illness as well as single parents so that the unique costs they face are covered.

“The Federal Government has done it once, and it must do it again: lift income support payments permanently to protect people from homelessness and ensure everyone can get through tough times, whenever they occur.