About one in six newly arrived migrants were noted as homeless by the 2016 Census, ABS figures show.
The Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia (FECCA), reporting the ABS findings on its website recently, expressed concern about the rates of homelessness for people of overseas origin.
According to the ABS figures, 17,749 people who were born overseas and arrived in Australia in the period 2011-2016 were homeless on Census night in 2016. This is about 15% of all homeless people recorded.
The census also shows that over 9,500 people who were born overseas, and arrived in Australia in 2011 or earlier, lived in “severely crowded” homes. This was an increase of 61% over the 2011 Census.
The Chairperson of FECCA, Ms Mary Patetsos, said the figures show how vulnerable newly arrived migrants were on their arrival in Australia.
“The early years are when they most need help,” she said, “and proposals to extend the waiting periods for welfare support will put these people at even greater risk.”
Ms Patetsos said people of CALD background often faced discrimination when applying to rent a home or find work. This contributed to their risk of homelessness and exclusion from society.
“We need to help them through first challenging years in their new land, not make settlement more difficult for them,” she said.
FECCA has also lent its voice to pressure on the Federal Government to boost funding for elderly Australians to remain in their own homes, according to an SBS report.
Emma Campbell, Chief Executive of the Federation of Ethnic Communities Councils, told SBS News the issue was particularly important for CALD Australians, as migrant Australians prefer to have care at home as they get older.