Cost of living pushing Australian workers into homelessness

As wages fail to catch up to rising housing costs, thousands more are seeking help

The number of employed Australians seeking help for homelessness has jumped by almost 30% in three years, sparking concerns that stagnant wage growth and high housing costs are pushing workers to the brink.

The Victorian-based Council to Homeless Persons has released an analysis showing 20,302 employed Australians sought homelessness support in 2016-17, well up from 15,931 in 2013-14.

The council has blamed the rise on a combination of sluggish wage growth and extreme housing costs. On Wednesday, the Australian Bureau of Statistics released the latest wage data, which showed wages grew by just 2.1% last year. Housing costs grew by 3.4% in the same period.

That’s only adding to the profound pressure on people like Mim, who works in out-of-home care in Victoria. Mim, who only has one name, fled a violent relationship many years ago, taking her three children with her. She immediately found herself homeless.

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