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Vote to end homelessness this Federal Election

Join us in ensuring the next federal government commits to housing and support for our most vulnerable.

This Federal Election, we can make a difference

With your support, we can make a major difference in the lives of people experiencing homelessness and disadvantage this Federal Election. Will you use your vote to change lives?

What’s the problem?

We’re in the middle of a housing crisis and homelessness is on the rise across Australia

If the new federal government doesn’t ramp up its measures to end homelessness, many more people will be at risk of losing their homes.

  • Right now, 24,000 Victorians and 116,000 Australians are experiencing homelessness – thousands of them don’t even have a temporary shelter.
  • Up to 2 million renters are at risk of losing their homes, because renting prices have been going through the roof for years

What do we want?

There are 4 things the next federal government must do to protect people from losing their housing – and to make sure everyone can afford a home:

Female construction worker look at building plans

Build social housing

A commitment to build 25,000 new social housing properties per year across Australia

  • Australia has a massive shortfall of 433,000 social housing properties, and is only expected to grow – particularly as the Federal Government investment in social housing is declining.
  • Investing in social housing saves the government money in the long term – underinvesting in social housing costs us $676.5 million per year.
  • By constructing 25,000 new social housing properties per year, an economic output of $12.7 billion will be generated, creating 15,700 jobs and adding $4.7 billion to GDP.
Man unpacking moving boxes

Support housing-first programs

Investments in programs like our Journey to Social Inclusion that have proven to end homelessness for people and save taxpayers’ money

  • The combination of housing, assertive outreach and ongoing flexible support is achieving staggering results, consistently keeping people out of homelessness for good.
  • We want to see Australian governments prioritising the expansion of housing first programs like our Journey to Social Inclusion (J2SI) program across the country.
  • The J2SI program not only works to keep people out of homelessness. It also creates significant cost savings: For every $1 invested in J2SI, $1.84 is returned in health and justice cost savings.
Woman wearing a facemask shops at a supermarket

Increase income support

Raising JobSeeker payments to at least $69 a day and Commonwealth Rent Assistance by 50%

  • Increasing income support payments would make the biggest contribution to ending homelessness. In the year 2032, this would reduce homelessness by almost 48,000 households.
  • Australia’s income support system, particularly the Jobseeker payment, is the lowest in the OECD and is too low to avert poverty. Over 1 million Jobseeker recipients and their families are in rental stress and vulnerable to homelessness.
  • In 2020, when income support was briefly increased, severe rent stress among families with children dropped by 80 per cent – proving that raising the rate is the right thing to do to reduce poverty in Australia.
Man receiving treatment from a physiotherapist

Improve health care access

Ensure people experiencing homelessness receive the physical and mental health support they need

  • The experience of homelessness provides an immediate risk to people’s health, with potential long-term impacts including trauma and premature ageing and mortality. But the health needs of people who are experiencing or have experienced homelessness are often not met, not available or accessible.
  • Up to 40% of deaths amongst those with histories of homelessness are the result of ‘treatable illnesses’.
  • Accurate data is needed on how health inequalities for people experiencing homelessness is leading to premature death and denying people the right to live a good life, through prevention and intervention.

What are the major parties promising?

Read our party policy check to find out what Labor, Liberals and the Greens are committed to do to end homelessness and poverty in Australia.

Housing and homelessness

Labor’s policy on housing

Labor’s campaign platform includes the following relating to housing and homelessness:

  • Establish a $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund, which will build 30,000 new social and affordable housing properties in its first five years and create thousands of jobs.
  • Investment returns from the fund will be transferred to the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC) to pay for social and affordable housing projects.
    • Labor states that over the first five years, these returns will build around 20,000 social housing properties
    • 4,000 of which will be allocated for women and children fleeing domestic and family violence and older women on low incomes who are at risk of homelessness.
    • 10,000 affordable homes for the frontline workers (police, nurses and cleaners) – helping them live closer to where they work.
    • This will directly support 21,500 full-time jobs across the construction industry and broader economy, per year, over 5 years, nationwide
    • One in 10 direct workers on site will be apprentices.
    • In addition, a portion of the investment returns will be available to fund acute housing needs on an ongoing basis.
  • Labor has also announced the Help to Buy Scheme which will be open to 10,000 Australians each financial year.
    • Eligible home buyers will need a minimum deposit of 2 per cent, with an equity contribution from the Federal Government of up to a maximum of 40 per cent of the purchase price of a new home and up to a maximum of 30 per cent of the purchase price for an existing home.
    • The Scheme will be open to Australians earning up to $90,000 or less per annum for individuals, or $120,000 or less per annum for couples (gross annual income).
    • Recipients will need to have saved the required 2 per cent deposit and can finance the remainder of the purchase through a standard home loan.
    • Purchasers will also be able to buy an additional stake in their home when they are able to.

Read the full campaign platform on the Australian Labor Party website

Last updated: 2 May 2022

The Greens’ policy on housing
  • The Greens state that they will push to establish a Federal Housing Trust, which will:
    • Build 750,000 new public and community houses to slash public housing waiting lists and end homelessness
    • Build 125,000 new shared ownership homes, which will allow first-home buyers to buy a home where they want to live for $300,000.
    • Build 125,000 new public universal-access rental homes to provide affordable housing for more people who want to live in communities close to where they work, especially essential and frontline workers.
    • Create 135,000 new jobs in construction and services to support Australia’s economic recovery as we build new homes and renovate existing ones.
  • Build a million new, affordable, accessible and sustainable new homes to clear public housing waiting lists and make housing more affordable
  • Improve existing homes with $7 billion in capital grants to make housing warmer in winter and cooler in summer
  • Create 45,000 new ongoing direct jobs in construction and an additional 90,000 indirect jobs in the broader economy.

Read the full campaign platform on the Greens website

Last updated: 7 April 2022

The Liberals’ policy on housing

The Liberal Party are focusing their housing policy on measures to improve affordability for purchasers, namely:

  • Expanding the First Home Super Saver Scheme; increasing the amount that can be saved for a home deposit through the First Home Super Saver Scheme from $30,000 to $50,000.
  • The First Home Loan Deposit Scheme – helping another 10,000 first home buyers buy a home with a 5% deposit.
  • The New Home Guarantee – helping 10,000 people build or buy a new home with a 5% deposit.
  • The Family Home Guarantee – helping 10,000 single parents purchase a home with a 2% deposit.
  • The Liberal Party also announced the Super Home Buyer Scheme:
    • First home buyers will be able to invest up to 40% of their superannuation, up to a maximum of $50,000 to help with the purchase of their first home.
    • The scheme will apply to both new and existing homes with the invested amount to be returned to their superannuation fund when the house is sold, including a share of any capital gain.
    • If successful in the May 21 election, the Super Home Buyer Scheme will start by 1 July 2023.
    • There are no income or property caps under the Super Home Buyer Scheme with eligibility restricted to first homebuyers who must have separately saved five per cent of the deposit.
  • In addition, the party announced a policy to allow Australians over the age of 55 (currently 65 years of age) to downsize their property, and invest up to $300,000 per person into their superannuation from the proceeds of a sale, outside of the existing contribution caps. The Liberal Party estimates up to 1.3 million Australians would be eligible for this benefit if the age threshold is lowered from 65 to 55 years.
  • People receiving the Aged Pension who downsize their home will have two years following the sale to structure their assets without the proceeds from the sale impacting on their pension via the current assets test.

There is no mention of ‘social housing’ or ‘homelessness’ in 2022 campaign documents released so far.

Read the full campaign platform on the Liberal Party website

Last updated: 17 May 2022

Income support payments

Labor’s policy on income support payments
  • Labor state that Australia’s unemployment payment system is a barrier to many people getting into work. Payment rates have not kept up with wages or pensions; and payment rules are no longer fit for the changing nature of work.
  • Labor state that they will work with experts on a process for reviewing the working age payment system to ensure it is helping people out of poverty and is designed to assist, rather than hinder, Australians getting back into the workforce.
  • Labor recognises the significance of Commonwealth Rent Assistance to help support people on low incomes renting in the private rental market.

Read the full campaign platform on the Australian Labor Party website

Last updated: 7 April 2022

The Greens’ policy on income support payments
  • The Greens are calling for the Government to increase JobSeeker to at least $80 a day ($1,023 per fortnight).
  • The Greens state that they want to raise Youth Allowance, Austudy and Abstudy – young people 18 and over would receive the same guaranteed income of $1,300 per fortnight (whether they are studying or looking for work), and young people living away from home would no longer be subject to the parental means test.

Read the full campaign platform on the Greens website

Last updated: 7 April 2022

The Liberals’ policy on income support payments
  • The Liberal Party have not made any commitments regarding increases to the income support system.
  • The 2022 Federal Budget, released in March 2022, includes one-off payments of $250 to people receiving certain income support payments or who hold specific concession cards – including those receiving JobSeeker, Youth Allowance and the Aged and Disability Support pensions.

Read the full campaign platform on the Liberal Party website

Last updated: 7 April 2022

5 things you can do

Act today and make a difference for our most vulnerable!

  1. Vote
    Give your vote to a party that is committed to making a difference for our most vulnerable.
  2. Talk to your friends about their choice
    Share this page with your friends and family and have a chat with them about how they can support people without a home this federal election.
  3. Stay in touch
    Subscribe to our newsletter, Heartbeat, to stay informed on how you can help end homelessness this federal election and beyond.
  4. Join the movement
    Sign up for the Everybody’s Home campaign for a better, fairer housing system for everyone; and don’t forget to support the Raise The Rate campaign, because everyone should have enough to cover the basics!
  5. Tell your MP what’s important to you
    Find your local MP and urge them to commit to ending homelessness.

Hear from our staff ambassadors

Photo of Stephen Schmidtke, Executive Director Client Services

Social housing

“The housing market has dominated the news cycle across the country long enough. There is simply not enough social and affordable housing, and hundreds of thousands of Australians are left homeless as a result.

We’ve seen a big commitment by the Victorian Government to invest in social housing, but this must extend to the Federal Government to make a lasting impact.”

Stephen Schmidtke, Executive Director Client Services

Photo of Karen Lococo, Operations Manager, Engagement Hubs

Housing-first

“The evidence is clear – rapid housing and ongoing flexible support are key to keeping people out of homelessness for good. Sacred Heart Mission’s Journey to Social Inclusion program (J2SI) is a testament to how this approach changes lives.

It’s time for the federal government to listen to the data and make a meaningful investment in evidence-based programs to end homelessness in Australia.”

Karen Lococo, Operations Manager, Engagement Hubs

Photo of Olivia Killeen, Communication and Social Policy Officer

Income support

“Australia’s income support payment system, particularly the Jobseeker payment is so deficient and punitive that it traps people in a cycle of poverty and disadvantage, unable to afford the basics and at risk of homelessness.

In 2020, when income support was briefly raised, 425,000 Australians were lifted out of poverty, only to be plunged back in when the payments were cut back to $40 per day, less than 12 months later – cruel and devastating for people when the pandemic continued to wreak havoc with our lives. 72 per cent of Australians want welfare payments to increase – so our politicians committing to it is a win-win.”

Olivia Killeen, Communication and Social Policy Officer

Photo of Liu Ponomarew, Program Coordinator The Wellness Place

Health care access

“Homelessness is a health hazard. It’s clear that the impact of rough sleeping and living with untreated physical and mental ill health is devastating to people’s wellbeing. At Sacred Heart Mission, we see too many people die young from preventable conditions.

We see too many people struggling physically with health issues that the wider community readily finds treatment for. This regrettable and preventable situation happens because basic health care for people experiencing homelessness is difficult to access.

This needs to change. We can’t leave an entire group of Australians behind just because they are experiencing poverty and homelessness.”

Liu Ponomarew, Program Coordinator The Wellness Place

Photo credit: photo of parliament house in Canberra by Joseph Fox (Creative Commons license)

Media contact

For media enquiries about our Federal Election campaign, please contact Holly Cooper, Communication and Advocacy Manager at hcooper@sarcredheartmission.org.