Hundreds of charities and other organisations have penned an open letter calling on Scott Morrison to make a significant investment in social housing in the upcoming federal budget.
The alliance is urging the prime minister to build 30,000 new dwellings over the next four years to create jobs and reduce homelessness.
Mr Morrison has so far resisted calls to spend on social housing in response to the coronavirus economic crisis, arguing the states are responsible for the sector.
But the groups have pointed out the Commonwealth has stepped in several times including after World War II, Cyclone Tracy and the Global Financial Crisis.
"Housing is a fundamental need and our national response must rise above state boundaries or party politics," the groups wrote.
"From Chifley and Menzies to Whitlam and Fraser housing programs worked because they were driven by national leadership. This tradition must be honoured."
About 116,000 Australians were homeless each night before the coronavirus pandemic.
The groups believe the pandemic will exacerbate the problem, placing extra stress on the one-in-three Australians who rent.
More than one million Australians are now unemployed, including thousands of construction workers laid off due to coronavirus restrictions.
Australian Associated Press