Homeless rate drops yet Aussies living in cramped conditions

WHILE the number of Australians sleeping rough fell 6% between 2006 and 2011, the number of people living in "severely crowded" conditions has continued to rise.

A report to be released today by the COAG Reform Council shows there were 41,390 people living in severely crowded conditions in 2011, up from 9,859 in 2006.

The report reveals all governments in Australia were unlikely to meet a nationally agreed target to reduce homelessness by 7% by the end of this year.

Instead, the overall homelessness rate has actually gone up 17% between the 2006 and 2011 Census surveys.

Two-thirds of those living in severely crowded accommodation - or needing four extra bedrooms for the number of people in a house - were likely recent migrants.

Interestingly, the report also found a higher rate of rough sleepers in Queensland's coastal regions and on the New South Wales north coast.

While Council chairman John Brumby could not comment on whether immigration had contributed to the rise, he said it was likely larger family groups of recent migrants were living together.

There was also a national rise in the number of people in temporary accommodation, partly due to more supported accommodation being provided in 2011 than in 2006.

Mr Brumby said indigenous Australians were also 14 times more likely to be homeless than other Australians, making up 27.6% of the entire homeless population.


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