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Australia

COVID-19: rental housing and homelessness impacts – an initial analysis

Report by Hal Pawson et al. Australian Council of Social Science/UNSW Poverty and Inequality Partnership.

February 11, 2021. 

This report shows the gains made on reducing homelessness during the pandemic last year are slipping away. It shows less than a third of those assisted with temporary hotel accommodation during the crisis were later transitioned into longer-term affordable housing, mainly due to a shortage of social housing available. At the same time, tens of thousands of people renting across the country now owe mounting rental debts, after having their payments deferred (but not reduced) while eviction moratoriums were in place.

This is the first of two planned reports from an ongoing investigation being undertaken as part of the UNSW-ACOSS Poverty and Inequality Partnership work program, and also supported by Mission Australia, National Shelter and Queensland Shelter. Initiated in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the research focuses primarily on the domains of rental housing and homelessness. Its main aims are to inform an understanding of:

  • What relevant policy shifts or innovations have been prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic
  • How these policy innovations have been formulated
  • How policy innovations been implemented and with what effect – for both service delivery organisations and service users.