The report was commissioned by Everybody’s Home, a coalition of welfare organisations campaigning against homelessness, calls for a $7 billion federal government investment in social housing. The report says this investment could boost the post-pandemic economy by $18.2 billion and create 18,000 jobs per year over four years.

Sydney youth worker Betty Kerslake, 27, said she has been struggling to pay the rent during the pandemic when she was not allowed on school grounds to support students.

“My work is about to dry up again. I’m desperately trying to find a part-time job, but everyone is trying to do that at the moment. So it is really difficult,” she said.

She pays $260 a fortnight for rent in shared accommodation in Parramatta and relies on JobSeeker.

“If JobSeeker drops next year and my work is still not back to normal, I don’t know how I will cope,” Ms Kerslake said.

Kate Colvin, a spokeswoman for Everybody’s Home, said the economic modelling “paints a frightening picture of the months and years ahead”.

Gareth Ward, NSW Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services said the state government has invested more than $100 million in new funding to prevent and respond to homelessness during the pandemic.

“We will continue to work closely with our non-government partners to support people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, by helping them secure housing and connecting them with the services and support they need to rebuild their lives,” he said.

Luke Howarth, Assistant Minister for Community Housing, Homelessness, and Community Services said the federal government expected to invest around $8.4 billion to support housing and homelessness in 2020-21.

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