A 70 year-old woman sleeping in a shopfront is one reason why Daniel Strickland, Mission Australia area manager for Southern NSW and ACT, has added his voice to an urgent call for more social housing.
"I am reminded of an Aboriginal woman that our local Mission Australia team assisted recently," he said in his regular column for this newspaper.
The woman preferred to remain anonymous.
"She is in her 70s, and was sleeping in a shopfront with holes in the walls and no proper heating," Mr Strickland said.
"No one in a country as wealthy as ours should suffer through these brutal conditions and indignity."
He said that the severe shortage of social housing and affordable rentals, high levels of housing stress, low rate of JobSeeker and other income support payments is causing an influx of financial stress, housing insecurity and homelessness.
His words were echoed by Shelter NSW, the state's peak body for housing policy, who commented post-Budget that "the state's improving fortunes are not being shared - with crippling housing unaffordability leaving many behind and driving inequity especially for younger generations."
"With a windfall of over $1 billion in additional stamp duty, it was disappointing to see so little directed back to support people unable to compete in the private housing market," said John Engeler, CEO Shelter NSW,.
"This budget sees the NSW Government backing expensive options like thoroughbred stabling when ordinary punters are struggling to pay rent."
Shelter NSW noted the very modest investment of $147.1 million to construct an extra 800 social housing properties over two years.
This compares to a waiting list of over 50,000 household applications (including in excess of 5,000 priority cases) across NSW.
"Regional towns across NSW are experiencing an unprecedented housing crisis," said Mr Engeler.
"It is extraordinary therefore, to see a relatively large commitment of $67 million on upgrades to racetracks and additional capacity for stabling thoroughbreds around NSW."
Shelter NSW called on the NSW Government to commit to acquiring or building 5,000 additional social housing dwellings each year for the next decade.
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