Homelessness in Tasmania is not only an issue for metropolitan areas but is widespread, data shows.
The data, released in the form of interactive heatmaps by Homelessness Australia in partnership with the Everybody’s Home campaign to coincide with Homelessness Week 2020, showed Tasmania has a social housing shortfall of 11,400 properties.
Bass and Clark have the greatest need for social housing with a shortfall of 2600 properties each, followed by Braddon with 2400.
It showed there were 500 homeless people in Clark, 300 each in Bass, Braddon and Franklin, and 200 in Lyons.
Homelessness Australia chairwoman Jenny Smith said the idea homelessness was an issue mainly in cities was a myth.
“The lack of housing that people can afford is not only the biggest cause of homelessness, but it also prevents people escaping from homelessness,” Ms Smith said.
“The growth in unemployment as a consequence of COVID-19 and cuts to social security payments will drive further increases in homelessness.
“By investing in social housing, the government will not only give more people a home but will also keep more people in a job.”
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Colony 47 chief executive Danny Sutton said a housing first approach was needed to support vulnerable Tasmanians during COVID-19.
“Our goal should be to end homelessness by providing housing first and to then wrap around the supports needed by people to allow them to participate and contribute in our communities in the future,” Mr Sutton said.
“Tackling homelessness is more than just a bricks and mortar issue.
“Many people in need of housing support also need additional services to give them the best opportunity to fulfil their potential. That includes services like mental health support, education and training support and domestic violence support.”
Everybody’s Home spokeswoman Kate Colvin called on the federal government to address the shortfall in social housing across Tasmania’s electorates.
“Australia urgently needs the Morrison government to fix the national social hosing shortfall. It can give Australia’s economy a much-needed boost in the process by creating construction jobs as stimulus,” Ms Colvin said.
Homelessness Week 2020 runs from August 2 until August 8 and the theme for this year’s event is ‘Housing Ends Homelessness’.