Population ponzi causes shocking rise in Melbourne homelessness

By Leith van Onselen

I wrote on Friday how homelessness in Melbourne has risen dramatically over the past decade at the same time as the city’s population has ballooned by nearly one million people (26%), driven primarily by the federal government’s mass immigration ‘Big Australia’ policy:

Over the weekend, we received more confirmation of the homeless crisis hitting Melbourne via the release of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s (AIHW) 2016-2017 report, which shows a dramatic surge in people seeking homeless services after being forced-out of their homes by rising housing costs. From Domain:

The number of Victorians evicted from their homes and seeking help from homelessness services has more than doubled in five years, during which time stamp duty collected by the state government almost doubled to $6 billion.

In the 2016-2017 financial year, 43,751 people sought assistance from charities and housing services because they had recently been evicted from their home, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. This was either through forcible eviction or rent or mortgage arrears.

The numbers have risen dramatically since 2012, when 17,930 people reported they had been evicted into homelessness…

Chief executive Jenny Smith said higher rents flowed on from higher house prices, impacting people on low incomes…

Ms Smith said the rental market was more competitive than ever, partly because people saving for a house deposit were also seeking the most affordable rentals.

“That is then reducing the number of properties available to people on low incomes, because people on middle incomes are renting them to save money to get into the mortgage market”…

The latest rental data from the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) showed that Melbourne’s rental vacancy rate was just 2.1% as at the September quarter – well down from 3.2% in 2013, 2014 and 2015:

Worse, the proportion of new rental lettings ‘affordable’ to lower income households has fallen to just 5.9% – way down on the circa 30% recorded between 2000 and 2006, as well as the 12% recorded in 2012 and 2014:

This follows a collapse in the number of new rental lettings across the state:

This is pure evil by Australia’s policy makers. Not only has the federal government’s mass immigration policy robbed Melbourne’s youth of the opportunity to purchase a home, but it is driving up their cost of living via rents as well, forcing many people into homelessness.

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  1. Ironic there are ads for The Age running on my page, the main Melbourne opinion leader approving of this massive population growth. Further, making sure in any article that Melbournes booming unsustainable population growth is never listed in The Age as the cause of the many problems it reports on from overcrowded schools to congested roads and public transport. For a good while it would not publish comments opposing population growth or pointing out its failure in its reporting to attribute the correct cause of the decline in the quality of life. An awful dereliction of its duty to the people of Melbourne in favour if its own revenues. And a failure of journalistic standards. No revenue from me, I have boycotted if for about seven years.

  2. We are modelling the US. Greater corporate profit, growing inequality, a working poor and wider destitution at the very bottom. At this rate, we too could become “great”. Thanks so much LibLab.

    • Unlike the USA, every state here has rural growth boundaries. At least in USA there are a few states which allow houses to be built just about anywhere – thus those states never have real estate bubbles and always have affordable housing.

      The mental Greens here insist on rural growth boundaries even in mining towns. Alice Springs and Whyalla should be spared the madness.

      Unlike the USA, we can vote for new parties and we put the Greens into power from 2010 to 2013 and they did nothing for the poor. Now they are talking about buying back the electricity grid – why did they not have the brains to do that before 2013? Now they are reportedly looking at UBI – why did they not have the brains to do that before 2013? They lost the election anyway so they may as well have put it in and excluded the richest 40% of the voters from it.

      • “excluded the richest 40%” is not a UBI. It is increasing the earnings cape for unemployment benefits.

    • boomengineeringMEMBER

      So whats so bad about being homeless aren’t renters homeless.Maybe the phobia about homelessness is a tool to force conformity to debt slavery. City homeless could always move to rural for a better quality of life. Riding my old push bike from Circular Quay to work at Garden Island, past a homeless man being interveiwed by German camera persons, “I won’t work for anyone”.
      In the seventies we experimented with sleeping in the gutter. It wasn’t so bad, dogs sniffing you and being trodden on by the milkman.
      Most of the homeless are stereotyped as bums, but that comes from the fact that a high percentage have mental illness, drug or alcohol problems, some just want to only do easy things like not washing themselves but a person without a home could be quite comfortable with the right mindset ie making effort to find good shelter and washing facilities.

      • You are forgetting that Centrelink will cut off people’s unemployment benefits if they move from the city to an area with higher unemployment, even if they can’t get a job in the city either. Stay in the city or starve. Just as effective as barbed wire and attack dogs.

      • boomengineeringMEMBER

        Tania, thanks, not familiar with handouts and don’t plan to be, even though way past retirement age.

      • Spent the 80’s at GI, they taught me well, as did the surrounding area of the time. Complex issues to be sure. No jobs in the country either. There’s an element of poor country folks being economically driven out of sea change places too, but you won’t hear about them. They did let mentally ill patients out of institutions in the 90’s(?) which saw more sleeping out. But there’s also the stresses of homeless/pennilessness driving them Into mental illness – often chicken & egg, but not always.

        Places like Matthew Talbot were overrun a long time ago, hard to imagine how they’re coping now. I know I’m not in a hurry to check out my old stomping ground to find out.

  3. I am in Switzerland, just being here highlights how intractable are Australia’s problems actually are. The root cause is our failed system of citizen representation and corrupted leadership.

    The answer is, that there are no answers.FFS

    • Australia already launched all its aircraft (money) for the housing bubble. They cannot be recalled and if anything were to hit Australia, it is a sitting duck.

      Look at the explosion in the stamp duty receipts – the magic that increases revenue without being seen to increase taxes – no pollies can resist such temptations. Letting the charities take care of the fallout, which is off the books.

      As they say, chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken. Starting from the chronic CAD, once you let the Moron Side of the Force rule your life it will dominate your life forever.

    • Funny you mention that. I’ve pondered how to bring Swiss style representation to Straya.

      The best answer I can come up with is to assault the senate.
      I propose to do do this with a “Single Issue Party”.
      The party itself would have no defining ideology, but it would tie its potential senators to their issue. You vote for the senator below the line to elect them. They would pledge to retire upon achieving their goal.

      It’s kludgy, and it’s somewhat done by other parties. The thing is, no one really has the time to research other parties, and they do somewhat dilute themselves by their sheer numbers. Perhaps having one party to put all the single issues into would get people to figure out which of the single issues matter most to them and put some time into it. Perhaps not. I don’t know.

      Maybe it would be a valid strategy for some of the other parties to join together.

      • Swiss-style representation is about as close to true democracy as you’ll get … which means it hasn’t a hope of making it here. Pollies talk fondly of democracy but they hate it, in truth. It is thoroughly inconvenient having the citizens have that much power, when they (the pollies) exist to serve as fluffers for the rich and powerful.

  4. I watched one of Nathan Birch videos after watching the recent SpaceX triumph – the sheer gap saddens me.

    I am waiting for reusa’s comment. Perhaps he will cheer me up!!

    • The complete uselessness of launching a car into space as a publicity stunt says a lot about spacex and elon musk. They couldn’t find anyone wanting to launch a scientific payload?

      • The latest ‘stunt’ was a test launch for their new model. No customer would entrust their precious cargo to a test launch!!

        But what the test demonstrated is far reaching.

      • The NZ guy who launched that ‘Humanity Star’ which at least you could see and maybe show kids to get them interested didn’t exactly get thanked for his efforts.

      • I would have thought the launch would cost more than the cargo for most customers, and a free launch would get takers. Maybe I’m wrong.

      • darklydrawlMEMBER

        Well it was a test flight and no-one was sure if it was going to destruct on launch or not. All test missions have a dummy payload onboard rather than a real and practical payload. Usually this is a big lump of concrete or similar. Yes the Teslsa was a big stunt and marketing ploy, but nobody would put anything of value on a test launch. You would be crazy to try that. Couldn’t get insurance for starters.

  5. That vacancy rate chart is a great monument to the “apartment glut” ahahahahahaha! We seem to have too many cranes!

    • reusachtigeMEMBER

      LOLOLOL! No we do not. What we have are too many investors that I need to compete with for those apartments. Oh well, that’s the system and I love it!

  6. Paul-Henri Spaak

    The left were once the champions of the working poor, of labour and unions. The left were the traditional inner city working class suburbs of Fitzroy, Richmond, Collingwood – now they are all millionaires – so the aspirational issues of class no longer matter to them – for now they have arrived.

    So what do the left concern themselves with now ?

    Identity politics. White men are bad, poor women and people of colour, vaccines, gluten and cooking shows.

    The reason the world is truly screwed is because the right wing won – and they won purely because the left gave up and joined them – they just think they’re different because they have a heart which spends all its time trying to find something to hate.

    • Actually behind the times, the right are starting to realize neo liberalism and even with chumps in it like Michael Danby who attacked Corbyn on Sky News yesterday, many in the ALP are realizing it. The most popular politicians in the UK and US are democratic socialists in Corbyn and Sanders. The movements they revived will go on. Arden in NZ is also rolling back the Neo Liberal agenda. Admittedly early days but the right is in retreat, much like the left were after the two oil shocks of the 1970s. The results of that were not seen until the next decade but their ideas were first substantially questioned in the 1970s

    • There is certainly some irony in lamenting the victory of the right while enthusiastically parroting its rhetoric.

  7. St JacquesMEMBER

    Dear me, the sell-out merchants at Dumbfax are wringing their soft hands over the explosion of homelessness and have realised there might be a connection with runaway housing costs? No s** Shakespeare! Get ready for another doubling of homeless in the next five years and then another after that, and that’s if there’s no economic shock that hits this ponzi called the Australian economy.

  8. I just wonder what it is like to be an average ‘mum and dad’ IP owner and have to evict forcibly someone who just can’t pay their rent. Not a scumbag who had caused trouble or damage but just someone struggling because the cost of everything in this wretched place is rising so quickly. I am thinking like a single mother or something?

    Apart from the delayed process and no doubt ending up with a several week shortfall that you would never get back, you would either have feel pretty wretched or become (or already have turned into) a totally entitled C— who does not give a stuff about your fellow human beings. I just wouldn’t want to put myself in that position.

    • reusachtigeMEMBER

      Look, I’m a very fair property owner and I always give my poorer tenants the opportunity to pay by other means. Usually we come to an agreement that gets them by otherwise they’re out for not trying harder!

    • reusachtigeMEMBER

      And, for the record, I rarely have to kick out a single mum but when I do I take pleasure in it. They’ve been given every opportunity to get out of their predicament but have chosen to continue to lose. I even offer to have their infant children clean my houses after the scum I’ve just kicked out. Society doesn’t need losing people like that!

    • I suspect what you’re not understanding is that many of the landlords renting these houses are just as bad off (cash wise) as the tenants. Recent changes in the APRA rules have forced speculating landlords to repay principal, rather than remaining interest only. I know of several landlords that leveraged big time buying one house, quick coat of paint slap it on the rental market and but the next house. That’s all starting to unwind, landlords often need to reoccupy the property, for tax / repair reasons before they sell it. What’s new is the trend for landlords to want the house returned in better condition than they rented it originally…many of these financially stressed landlords are finding any reason to keep the entire bond (meaning the tenant doesn’t have this to apply to the next rental). There are even landlords suing tenants for 10’s of thousands for damage (things like hardwood floors were newly finished at the start of the rental but now don’t look good enough for a quick sale) even when the damage is only really ware and tare.

      • That was in my mind and apart from the APRA changes you mention, all the expensive defects in the low quality recent builds are going to add to the mess very soon and those are on top of the cladding issue.

        Still even if I were in a bind financially, I think having to inflict misery on someone else would be tough. It is just a nasty business all round. But we have been saying that for some time now …

      • Low quality finish outs are a huge part of the problem.
        The landlords are often cutting corners on the build/reno but it’s the tenants are that are expected to pay up when the low quality workmanship/materials shows up.
        I saw a case recently where a landlord had used cheap MDF baseboards and architraves, it had been a rental house for about 6 years and now the landlord needed to sell. When they pulled up the carpet half the baseboards came away with the carpet and All the bottom of the door architraves were swollen from moisture. The landlord naturally wanted to compensated for the damage (which probably resulted from raising damp or maybe carpet cleaning) whereas the real problem is shoddy build quality and inappropriate use of materials.
        If these houses had been owner occupied than most probably the builder would have been sued, however since they were rented the landlord was late to discover the problem and quick to blame the last tenants.

      • boomengineeringMEMBER

        Thats the downhill spiral we talk about, tennant with no bond for the next place means new landlord with fewer tenants looking so down comes the rent then house price. You may say where is the first tennant, well either home or sharing which is still fewer tennants.

    • @d672…
      Mmmm I wonder…does the landlord still have to pay the mortgage??? If they can’t lease it to more renting scum without job do they have to sell?? Does every investor have the luxury of their foreign counterpart and able to leave million dollar properties empty for years??

  9. reusachtigeMEMBER

    Oh boo hoo! We are a free capitalist nation that encourages success in everyone. If people choose to be the losers then that is just unfortunate. Well done to those successful legends who have bought the investment properties and are now able to profit from powerful rents!

  10. Some research I did on the weekend showed you would pay $4k pa for a vacant caravan site 400klm from Melbourne CBD. If that went up 10% p.a. it would take all your super balance as it would equate to $600k spent after 35 years. So Van sites 400k from key hospital services is not a real solution. Probably working till you drop is the only way if your a renter.

  11. Go into the large public housing estates like Flemington and Dandenong, and even the smaller ones like Ascot Vale and you will see the reason for increasing numbers of homeless on the streets. All those housing estates are now occupied by African and Middle Eastern refugees. All the Australians have been forced out of public housing and on to the street. I’m amazed someone hasnt cottoned on to this, but I guess writing about (or even mentioning it) would be considered “Racist”.

    • reusachtigeMEMBER

      Those chocos are, no doubt, way better tenants than the ice addicted smackies that once ruined those neighbourhoods but have thankfully been moved out!

      • Going by the conversations I overheard on the tram years ago, they were mostly male alchoholics, and women with kids on methadone. They were always quite pleasant and polite, and you never felt like you were going to get your face slashed with a boxcutter while they stole your mobile phone.

      • Going by the conversations I overheard on the tram years ago, they were mostly male alchoholics, and women with kids on methadone. They were always quite pleasant and polite, and you never felt like you were going to get your face slashed with a boxcutter while they stole your mobile phone.

    • @kiwikaryn
      Yes I’ve noticed this thus racist/sarc.
      All over St Kilda, Prahran etc same as inner city Kensington Fitzroy Brunswick etc.

  12. I still remember what the shortage-deniers said to me:

    * If there is a shortage surely rents will rise
    * if there is a shortage we would expect to see more homeless people

    Yes. They were right on these points. The shortage is clearly visible now. Many years in the making, but undeniable now.

    • reusachtigeMEMBER

      There has been a shortage of properties for us investors to buy for a long time hence why house prices have boomed and will continue to boom as more people tidy themselves up a bit and invest in property!

    • If you are considering someone with 10 properties vs some other guy with no property a “Shortage in properties”, then there is no amount of houses in the world will cover this shortage.

  13. Ms Smith said the rental market was more competitive than ever, partly because people saving for a house deposit were also seeking the most affordable rentals.

    “That is then reducing the number of properties available to people on low incomes, because people on middle incomes are renting them to save money to get into the mortgage market”…

    My heart goes out to those on a low income that are adversely affected by speculation in essential items like shelter, however that said, I can’t stand the way that logic takes a beating and confused thinking wins out.
    IF the total population were static and there were no substantial changes in the housing stock than it follows that changes in the levels of homelessness could only occur if existing properties were withdrawn from the rental market and left vacant. The fact that young middle income couples/singles are renting (instead of being in the FTB club) in no way changes the (available houses) / population equation.
    Things that do change the equation include:
    – Low income / Middle income household breakups (renting and unemployment puts a lot of stress on a marriage)
    – Increase in the population, especially increases in 20/30 something bracket (which is Leith’s population ponzi point)
    – Vacant housing stock (speculation / house costs too much to repair..I’ve spoken to several landlords that would rent but are concerned with the possible risk of renting a house that contains a lot of Fibro (which all old Sydney houses do)

    Another problem that’s increasingly occurring is the black-listing of otherwise good tenants when landlords behave like arseholes. (It is common for large families to be given just 4 weeks termination notice and when they cant find alternate accommodation in this short period they are immediately taken to NCAT/VCAT and evicted, which puts your name instantly at the top of the rental blacklist.

  14. there is no doubt in my mind at this point. the people who have orchestrated our immigration policy should be imprisoned or given capital punishment. the department of immigration needs to be purged from top to bottom and every employee in it replaced with australian patriots who are hostile to population growth.

  15. ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

    From Stompers post on Weekend links, the root cause of so many of our societal problems, systematically censored and ignored.

    “Wendy Harmer shuts down debate on population growth and the impact on the environment.

    The conversation with Dr Derek Spielman, Lecturer in Veterinary Pathology at Sydney University,.starts at 1.20.00


    He makes the point that the root cause of loss of habitat is due to rapid population growth started by John Howard.
    At which point Wendy (1.26.20) chimes in with “well that’s a done deal” and cuts the discussion down.

    There must be a clear directive from ABC Management across the boards to avoid this debate at all cost.

    Listen here for yourself…..
    This link on my phone doesn’t give a time counter but is about 1 third of the way in on the clip duration bar.