A new study has revealed that Australia has lost more than 20,000 public housing units in the past 10 years. 

The report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) uncovered that thousands of public housing units have been lost at the hand of state governments, while there has been a 55,470 increase in units run by non-profit providers.

Social housing stock has technically increased by 27,401 (approximately six percent) over the past decade, however according to the study, this has not kept up with demand. This has resulted in increasingly long waiting times, with some of the people in the greatest need waiting more than two years for housing.

According to the report, the massive switch from public stock to non-profit is to be blamed for the lack of overall housing stock.

The report comes at a time when state governments are increasingly being criticised for selling public housing land to developers. In response, they have argued that the money from the sales will be used to building public housing elsewhere, but some experts are skeptical about whether residents will benefit and whether this new housing (frequently relocated to cities’ suburban outskirts) will be enough to keep up with demand.