Housing needed for NSW flood-impacted

As severe weather becomes more frequent, leading charities are calling on governments to do more to protect regional Australians from homelessness.

Research by the University of NSW examined housing in the NSW Northern Rivers in the eight months after severe floods hit earlier this year.

It was commissioned by charities Mission Australia, the St Vincent de Paul Society, Social Futures, The Salvation Army, the Australian Red Cross and the Tenants' Union of NSW.

The report found regional housing markets will be unable to survive widespread property losses caused by future floods, due to low social housing stock and inadequate homelessness support services.

This year's floods left some low-income renters living in regional Australia homeless, while others were left living in homes that needed repairs or were otherwise unsafe.

Renters also risked being evicted for simply asking for repairs.

Better protections for renters, like stopping no-fault evictions were needed, especially when the private rental market failed because of natural disasters.

NSW Tenants' Union chief Leo Patterson Ross said tenants' services have been inundated with requests for advice about no-grounds evictions.

Tenants in flood-affected properties were also hit with rent increases.

"It's time we also seriously consider putting in place fair limits around rent and rent increases," Mr Patterson Ross said.

The study also called for more social housing in low-risk geographic areas and more funding to help the homeless.

Homelessness support services in the area were already struggling before the floods, due to lack of resources.

Those services were now being called on to help even more people, as volunteers and workers were also affected by flooding.

Diana Bernardi from the Australian Red Cross Emergency Services said recovery workers had reported flood-impacted residents were "feeling a deep sense of lack of control over their future and losing hope".

St Vincent de Paul Society NSW CEO Jack de Groot said the floods had further exposed deep flaws in an already vulnerable housing system.

"There is an urgent need to build greater resilience into the system in the face of more frequent and severe climate disasters," he said.

"Failure to do so will push more people into a hard-to-break cycle of poverty, unable to find a stable home from which they can rebuild their lives."