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Social services and housing peak organisations will today tell NSW Parliament that more must be done to support the most vulnerable during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

NCOSS, Homelessness NSW, the Tenants’ Union of NSW and a member of Community Housing Industry Association NSW are appearing before the Inquiry into the NSW Government’s management of the pandemic.

The peaks are urging the NSW Government to invest in more social and affordable housing to support the most vulnerable and create more residential construction jobs. 

A recent report by Equity Economics projected an increase in unemployment in NSW to between 10% and 15% this year or between 430,000 and 650,000 NSW citizens.

The modelling predicts that this will lead to increases of between 7,905 and 16,140 in the homeless population in NSW.

As well as this, after the JobSeeker supplement is removed rents will remain beyond the reach of low-income households.

NCOSS CEO, Joanna Quilty said the sector was bracing for a significant rise in disadvantage and inequality and the government needed to urgently act.

“Our concern is that disadvantage and inequality is going to rise astronomically, as will demand for support and assistance from the social services sector,” Ms Quilty said.

“The delivery of 5,000 additional units of social housing every year for the next 10 years will break the cycles of disadvantage for vulnerable people and stimulate the economy when it needs it most.”

Homelessness NSW CEO, Katherine McKernan said: “The collaboration between the NSW Government and homelessness services to provide accommodation to people experiencing homelessness during the pandemic to help keep them healthy and well shows that we can end homelessness in NSW.

“But with increased demand due to rising unemployment homelessness services are exhausted and worried about the future. Investment in social housing is the solution.”

Tenant’s Union of NSW CEO, Leo Patterson Ross said: “We hear every day from renters who have been hard hit by the economic impacts of COVID-19.

“With the changes to support payments coming at the federal level a new round of difficult negotiations will begin.

“The NSW Government can avoid a potential catastrophe for renters by extending and expanding the eviction moratorium beyond October 14th and ensure a rent negotiation system that ends with fair results. This would ease the pressure on renters, their families and support services and minimises the economic harm on our state.”

Media contact: Nick Trainor (NCOSS) 0407 078 138

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