16 February 2024

Griffith among LGAs with fastest growing rates of homelessness

| Jarryd Rowley
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Homeless continued to rise in Griffith in 2023.

Homelessness in Griffith is at an all-time high, with more than 850 seeking aid in 2023. Photo: File.

Homelessness in the Riverina is again in the spotlight after the Griffith Local Government Area (LGA) recorded the eighth-highest increase in homeless people across the state.

Figures from Homelessness NSW show that 855 people received assistance from specialist homelessness services in 2023 equating to almost 1 in 32.

Griffith is one of only two LGAs outside Sydney and Wollongong in the top 10 and the second highest in the state per capita behind only Walgett, located in the state’s north.

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Homelessness NSW CEO Dom Rowe explained the housing crisis had put pressure on frontline homelessness services.

“LGAs across metropolitan Sydney and also suburban and rural areas are seeing increased levels of homelessness – showing that plummeting housing affordability is affecting people right across the state,” Mr Rowe said.

“Right now, one out of every two people seeking help for homelessness in NSW do not receive it because underfunded services are full.

“It is heartbreaking that women and their children fleeing domestic violence have to choose between staying in a dangerous home or sleeping in a tent or a car because they can’t get the help they need.

“NSW must increase funding for specialist homelessness services, as Queensland has just done with a 20 per cent boost.”

Mr Rowe expressed that only one in 20 homes in NSW were used for social housing in 2023 and to meet the needs of the state, that number needed to be lifted to one in 10 by 2050.

“The NSW government is moving in the right direction on housing, but much more is needed to protect the women and children trapped in violent homes and people sleeping rough or couch surfing,” Mr Rowe said.

Since the release of the statistics, the NSW Government has reaffirmed its commitment to driving down homelessness by providing better social housing and improved access to support services.

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Minister for Housing and Homelessness Rose Jackson said the NSW Government would work to combat the rising rates.

“This report from Homelessness NSW highlights the very real housing crisis that is playing out in our suburbs and cities across NSW,” she said.

“The NSW Government, from the very beginning, has acknowledged this crisis is real and we must do everything we can to end homelessness.

“The report paints a harrowing picture of women and children being forced to live in cars, working families living in tents and increasing rates of people sleeping rough.

“The NSW Government is determined to confront this challenge. We know you can’t solve homelessness if you don’t have affordable homes for people to live in – that is the core work we are doing and we ask local councils and the community to walk with us on this journey.”

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