Invest in social housing and give women and children somewhere to go

July 28, 2021

Domestic and family violence makes a woman’s home the least safe place she can be. But house price and rental inflation is making finding somewhere new to live so difficult, that many women fleeing violence return to perpetrators and the risk of violence. Or into homelessness.

This is happening in our very own communities, right now.

Equity Economics’ new report, “Nowhere to Go” makes clear the extent of the crisis that women in our communities, and in communites all around Australia, are facing. High rents in the private rental market, underinvestment in social and public housing and the resultant lack of social housing stock, discrimination from landlords who prefer childless couples with stable incomes, mean that women and children escaping family violence can often find themselves without a safe, affordable and appropriate place to live and call home. Stagnating wages and welfare payments, the insecure, low-paid and casualised nature of work in women-dominated sectors mean there is even more pressure on women seeking secure housing.

It should go without saying that this is completely unacceptable.

It should also go without saying that public money should be invested in social and physical infrastructure that promotes care of people and communities, healing, wellbeing, equality and justice; that it should be spent to lift up the people most underserved, marginalised and discriminated against in our communities.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t go without saying. So we’ll say it, along with thousands of others who are marking Homelessness Week next week – the federal government should urgently invest in social housing, as a matter of priority, to ensure that every woman, every child fleeing violence at home has somewhere to go.

We need to build a housing system that is better and fairer for all. Women’s lives depend upon it, and our communities will be the better for it.

Add your support to the call for urgent investment in social housing so that women and children can escape the violence, and build new lives – sign the petition at Everybody’s Home (everybodyshome.com.au).