Around 105,000 Australians are without a safe place to sleep at night, according to the last Australian Census. Recently, Mission Australia, a not-for-profit organisation that provides assistance to over 300,000 Australians who are homeless or at threat of homelessness, called on the governments, community organisations, businesses and individuals to come together and commit to helping them tackle the issue of homelessness in Australia.
Making homelessness a national priority
Speaking at the launch of their 10 step Action Plan to Reduce Homelessness, Mission Australia CEO Catherine Yeomans said: “We need to harness the support of everyone to bring these numbers down, rather than continue their upwards trajectory. It’s a national disgrace that there are so many people who are homeless, especially when you consider that over 40% of these are young people.
Calling on the government to commit to firm targets and make homelessness a national priority, Mission Australia’s goal is to see youth homelessness halved by 2020, homelessness halved by 2025 and the number of low income Australians – of which, there are around 450,000 – living in rental stress and at threat of homelessness halved.
Yeomans said: “This is a comprehensive plan that focuses on tangible solutions to prevent and reduce homelessness as well as providing more housing – the two cannot be examined in isolation if we want to make a real difference.”
10 step Action Plan to Reduce Homelessness
- Income support and rental assistance should be sufficient for people on low incomes to avoid rental stress and live in areas where they have opportunities to participate in work and their communities.
- Helping someone keep their home is much more effective than responding to their increased needs once they become homeless.
- Prevention intervention models should be expanded for young people, as those experiencing family conflict are still significantly overrepresented in the homeless population.
- Efforts to reduce domestic and family violence need to be dramatically expanded as it is the number one reason people seek help from a homeless shelter, particularly women and children.
- A ‘zero tolerance’ approach should be adopted to people becoming homeless when they exit state care including hospitals and drug and alcohol facilities, correction facilities, detention centres, mental health institutions, and young people in the out of home care system.
- Homeless services need to be tailored to the individual needs of the people they serve and deliver trauma informed care.
- Scattered site Housing First models (where people have people have a secure long term tenancy that provides a solid foundation for wrap around service provision) should be scaled up to reduce the incidences of chronic homelessness.
- Commonwealth, State and Territory governments should facilitate funding of at least 200,000 new social homes by 2025 and capital works programs to update existing social infrastructure.
- This should include a further 4,200 new Aboriginal owned and controlled homes in remote communities and regional centres, to combat the very high number of Indigenous people living in severely overcrowded dwellings.
- A 10-year commitment is needed to strengthen communities of significant and persistent disadvantage through place-based models of integrated services provision that are aligned with housing regeneration.
Learn more about Mission Australia’s plan to reduce and prevent homelessness here.
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