In the past seven years homelessness has doubled in several suburbs, mostly in the west. Big jumps have also occurred in Strathfield and the CBD. Charities are feeling the impact. 

In a band stretching from Seven Hills through Granville, Auburn, Lakemba and East Hills, homelessness has doubled or nearly doubled since 2011.  The Homelessness in NSW report from the NSW Parliamentary Research Service also reports big increases in the relatively affluent suburbs of Strathfield and Wakehurst on the Northern Beaches. Buying a house in either of these areas costs upwards of $2 million. 

Next to Strathfield in Burwood, the Inner West Courier reports that one Church is now providing emergency assistance to 1000 people per year; another has opened its verandah for rough sleepers. Others that access services might not be without a home but come for food that they can no longer afford.  The churches, which don't receive any government funding, blame rising costs and lack of affordable and social housing. 

Common causes of homelessness this century are usually along the lines of: physical and mental health problems; financial problems and rent arrears; the death of a relative or close friend; the breakdown of a marital or cohabiting relationship; and disputes with co-tenants and neighbours. Additional causes are large increases in rental payments and the closure of rooming houses and hotels. For younger people the cause is usually family breakdown.

Increasingly however, it seems that the inflated housing market and its flow-on effects are starting to bite into a broader range of the income spectrum. For those on low-incomes gentrification has reduced the supply of cheap housing, including boarding houses. For the middle-income earners, living costs and high rents or mortgages means an unexpected expense, or change in income or relationship status, may tip them into poverty and possibly homelessness.  

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