Go to content

Housing insecurity ‘reaching crisis levels’ in regional areas

3 Nov 2022

Statistics released today show a surge in demand for housing and homelessness legal support across NSW.

Statistics released today show a surge in demand for housing and homelessness legal support across NSW.

Over the past two years, Legal Aid NSW has seen a 45 per cent increase in clients at risk of homelessness seeking legal help with their housing situation.

In the past 12 months alone, there has been a 53 per cent increase in representation provided to Legal Aid NSW clients at risk of losing their homes, with the majority in regional areas.

In Lismore, requests for housing assistance have doubled since 2018/19.

Legal Aid NSW solicitor Natalie Bradshaw says the situation in regional areas has reached crisis levels due to the influx of residents over the COVID-19 pandemic and the loss of housing stock due to flood damage.

“Requests for help have massively increased in the past two years, and regional areas are bearing the brunt of it,” Ms Bradshaw said.

“The rental situation has tightened since COVID and the floods, and housing continues to be increasingly unaffordable. This has put even more pressure on the people in our community experiencing disadvantage, who could not secure safe and stable housing before these events.

“Housing problems are one of the largest civil law areas for our clients, and these problems are often associated with other legal issues.

“Increasing numbers of clients need legal assistance to save their tenancies or access the support they need to take the first steps to overcome homelessness.”

The statistics coincide with the release last month of a Productivity Commission Inquiry into The National Housing and Homelessness Agreement.

This reported that not enough people are receiving the support they need to avoid homelessness or to re-enter the housing market. Reasons include a lack of appropriate housing but also gaps in homelessness services.
Legal Aid NSW aims to fill those gaps by working closely with other services to ensure our clients’ legal and social needs are met. We focus on prevention of homelessness and providing targeted support.

“It is important to break the cycle of homelessness by addressing the full range of legal issues that come with it,” Ms Bradshaw said.

“Safe housing is both a fundamental human right and a vital component of a stable, healthy and productive life.”
Natalie Bradshaw is available for interview.

Natalie Bradshaw is available for interview.

Media contacts:
Georgia Clark 0438 606 092
William Verity 0422 904 408