Eating and heating cut as crisis bites

Man rugged up in cold house. | Newsreel
Households are cutting back on heating to reduce costs. | Photo: Cold Snowstorm (iStock)

One in three Australians are skipping meals in order to meet the rising cost of housing, according to the early findings of a new private inquiry.

A People’s Commission, set up through the Everybody’s Home campaign, also found more than three quarters of renters were under housing stress and more than half of survey respondents were cutting back on heating or cooling homes to reduce costs.

The campaign is run by a coalition of housing, homelessness and welfare organisations in response to the housing crisis.

Led by Professor Nicole Gurran from the Sydney School of Architecture, Design and Planning, and former Labor senator Doug Cameron, the People’s Commission was covened to hear directly from affected Australians.

Professor Gurran said the Commission had already received more than 1500 survey submissions and today and tomorrow (May 23 and 24) would start hearing for people directly in Sydney sessions.

“For too long Australia’s housing policy paralysis has been sustained by dominant interests and ill-designed ‘solutions’ which have served only to maintain the status quo,” she said.

“I want to hear from the people most affected by decades of policy failure, to learn from their lived experience about real solutions to the immediate crisis and their priorities for long-term reform.”

Initial survey responses showed that three in five (58 percent) of respondent were in housing stress and almost half (45 percent) were avoiding the doctor and essential appointments to lower costs.

Uncertainty about the future (67 percent) and increased housing costs (61 percent) were the top reasons for concern about the housing crisis.

Learn more about the hearings.