Australia's lack of housing is 'critical': ACOSS

COMMUNITY groups have again called on politicians to make housing a top priority in the lead-up to the election, after little response to previous calls.

Deputy chief executive of Australian Council of Social Service Dr Tessa Boyd-Caine on Monday described Australia's lack of housing as "critical".

The chief community lobby group has joined with numerous church and welfare organisations in recent months calling for more to be done to reduce homelessness.

Earlier this month, ACOSS released a report which found nearly 70% of homeless services around the country could not meet demand.

Dr Boyd-Caine said that report overwhelmingly reported housing availability and affordability as "the greatest unmet need of their clients".

"Leading charities and national housing peak groups today outlined considered proposals that would go some way to dealing with a crisis that is hurting so many people, yet barely mentioned in the election context," she said.

"We want to see all-party support for immediate action."

The social services group has called for a range of measures, including 50,000 new incentives for affordable housing under the National Rental Affordability Scheme.

"Another urgent priority is to increase Newstart which has failed to keep up with community living standards," Dr Boyd-Caine said.

"If we are serious as a nation in addressing disadvantage, we need to ensure people have a decent income to live on when they are going through tough times."

So far, neither major party has unveiled a major election policy on homelessness, although The Greens have proposed the use of modular "container-style" apartment blocks to help provide cheap housing for those in need.

Topics:  australian council of social services homelessness housing crisis

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