Social housing: Publicly funded beds left empty, while waiting list grows, new data shows

Almost 200,000 Australians are on waiting lists for housing but a large number of them can’t find accommodation because larger homes are being occupied by single, elderly people.

Figures from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) show social and community housing for low-income Australians is not reflecting the needs of the population.

One in six properties were classed as ‘underutilised’, according to the figures.

Wendy Hayhurst, NSW Federation of Community Housing, said that means many properties are not “strictly empty, it’s just not well used.”

“We’ve got a very rapidly ageing population, not just in public housing and social housing, but across Australia.

“And as they grow older [and] their children move away, they are [left] living in accommodation that’s too large for them.

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