About 16 per cent of people staying in caravan parks are using them as a form of crisis accommodation, but constantly risk homelessness because they have no security of tenure.
"These people are not spending their holidays in a caravan park, nor are they residing in parks as a result of what is often called a lifestyle choice," says the St Vincent de Paul Society in a report to be published today.
"For an increasing amount of people caravan parks are a last resort form of stop-gap housing, an improvised form of crisis accommodation."
Weekly rents in a caravan park can be as high as $280, making them comparable with many private rental properties.
The number of parks fell from 164 in greater Sydney in 2000 to 74 last year. "When people can't rent they end up in a secondary stage of homelessness, either staying with friends or family or in caravan parks," said the report's author, Andy Marks.
Dr Marks, a senior researcher for St Vincent de Paul, said people living in caravan parks were experiencing "homelessness in limbo because people can find themselves on the street at any time".
But parks seemed an attractive alternative to hostels or other accommodation provided by charities because they allowed people to retain a sense of independence, Dr Marks said.
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