The waiting time for Tasmanians in dire need of public housing has massively blown out to nearly 64 weeks, the latest government figures reveal.
The figures, released today, show the waiting time for public housing for the September quarter was 63.7 weeks compared to the June quarter of 48.4 weeks.
The figures on the Human Services dashboard show that there are 3594 Tasmanians waiting for public housing up by 221 on the June quarter.
The data has prompted TasCOSS chief executive Adrienne Picone to renew calls for the government to increase social housing and ensure people do not have to sleep in their cars and couch-surf.
"It's important that we don't return to the pre-COVID-19 'normal' of waiting well over a year for priority social housing," Ms Picone said.
"That situation wasn't good enough and Tasmanians quite rightly expect better.
"The research tells us Tasmania needs 1000 additional affordable homes made available each year across the state for the next 15 years to keep pace with current and projected need
"Data also tells us that each house built results, on average, in the direct employment of three full-time equivalent people and has a multiplier effect on the surrounding community and its economy."
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Greens leader Cassy O'Connor, a former housing minister, says the figures show the "housing crisis is deepening".
She said the housing waiting list had grown under the Liberal government "after a Greens' Minister had it at its lowest level in a decade".
"Perhaps more concerning is the fact it is now taking 63.7 weeks to house priority applicants - a massive 27 per cent jump in 2020 alone," Ms O'Connor said.
"Despite these worsening figures, the Gutwein Government continues to drag its heels on housing supply.
"Not only are they failing to deliver enough new homes, they're refusing to tackle the other underlying causes of the housing crisis, like regulating short stay accommodation."
Labor housing spokeswoman Alison Standen conceded housing was a complex problem that required action on several fronts.
"Asking families to couch surf, to stay with relatives or friends or to pitch a tent for beyond a year is cruel and uncaring and is a sweeping indictment on a government that has proven - yet again - that it just does not care about Tasmania's most vulnerable," Ms Standen said.
"When the Liberals assumed government more than six years ago, the housing wait list was at a record low of 20 weeks.
"This Minister only recently admitted he has delivered a net increase of only five new social housing properties over the past year and he has no plan for meaningful and lasting reform of a housing system in crisis."
Housing and Human Services Minister Roger Jaensch said today's data confirmed the number of applications on the housing register had 'largely returned to pre-COVID levels".
"The figures are consistent with the current COVID-19 climate that is resulting in higher occupancy rates and a very low turnover of properties," Mr Jaensch said.
"We will continue doing everything we can to increase housing stock across the State and help those Tasmanians that need it, which is why the 2020-21 State Budget includes $300 million to deliver new housing and homelessness initiatives.
"At the end of September, there were 444 new social houses that were either contracted or were underway, as well as 174 new supported accommodation and homeless accommodation places."