SYDNEY, AAP – Thousands of women in NSW live in unsafe housing and face homelessness as rent remains unaffordable and the economic impact of the pandemic continues, local governments, charities and social services groups say.
A coalition of groups including the NSW Council of Social Service, Local Government NSW, Mission Australia and the Older Women’s Network have released a report highlighting the urgent need to support women’s economic security and safety by investing in social housing.
NCOSS chief executive Joanna Quilty says the groups are calling on the NSW government to fast-track 5000 additional social housing units, which would stimulate the economy and create almost 14,000 jobs.
“By building more social and affordable housing, we can support women fleeing violence and give local communities and the construction industry a much needed boost,” Ms Quilty said.
Median rents for a two-bedroom home in Greater Sydney cost 65 per cent of the average income for a single parent (the majority of whom are women), placing them in housing stress, says the report, authored by Equity Economics.
The report found the pandemic had worsened housing insecurity for women and 61 per cent of job losses since May had been female jobs with young women and women in western and southwest Sydney faring the worst.
It notes 4812 women in NSW have stayed in unsafe and violent homes or faced homelessness because they could not find secure housing after leaving.
The number of people seeking specialist homelessness services who had experienced family and domestic violence increased by 7.1 per cent in the financial year to mid-2021, compared with a 3.2 per cent rise in demand for all specialist homelessness services.