‘It’s just heartbreaking’: Newstart recipients turned away from homelessness services
The number of people on Newstart seeking homelessness services has risen by 75 per cent over the past six years – from 30,761 in 2011-12 to 54,066 people in 2017-18.
This spike has easily outpaced growth in the number of Newstart recipients, which rose by 28 per cent over the same period.
Homelessness Australia – which undertook the analysis – is calling for both Newstart and Commonwealth Rent Assistance (CRA) to be increased, so people can afford basic housing costs in the private rental market.
Jenny Smith, Homelessness Australia chair, said services were struggling to cope with the “alarming” increase in demand.
“Presentations to homelessness services is going up by around 4 per cent a year generally, but with Newstart recipients it has risen by 75 per cent,” Smith said.
“Our service providers – who have had no additional funding from the federal government in the last decade – are doing it very tough.
“They do their best to try and offer housing outcomes to people. But having to turn away hundreds of people a day, it’s just heartbreaking.”
Newstart – which pays around $40 a day for a single person – has not been raised in real terms since 1994.