Praise for Government’s Homelessness Strategy

ACOSS strongly supports the direction of the Government’s White Paper on homelessness, The Road Home, together with funding of $800 million for homeless services and the promise of 2,700 new houses for homeless people by 2011. Speaking at the launch of The Road Home, Clare Martin, CEO, ACOSS said:

“The Government has shown it is serious about reducing homelessness. ACOSS welcomes the commitment to halve homelessness and end rough sleeping by 2020.”

“Homelessness services are buckling under the demand for crisis accommodation. Less than half of people who seek emergency accommodation are found a bed for the night. Three-quarters of families with children are turned away from crisis accommodation.”

“The Road Home recognises the valuable work of the homelessness sector and sees that this workforce must be adequately trained and better supported.”

ACOSS supports the three strategies to tackle homelessness – early intervention, expanded and well-connected services, and breaking the cycle by moving people from crisis accommodation into stable housing.

“ACOSS welcomes plans to prevent homelessness before it begins by targeting people at risk – people lacking affordable housing, or suffering from domestic violence, financial crisis, ill health, family breakdown,” said Clare Martin.

Substantial investment in affordable housing and a strong social housing system is key to achieving the 2020 homelessness targets. “Currently people are locked into staying in crisis accommodation because there is nowhere else affordable to go.”

The White Paper recognises the pressures on homelessness services and challenges mainstream services – like health, education, housing, employment services and social security – to take a more active role in preventing homelessness and social exclusion.

“We welcome plans to ensure fewer people fall through the cracks between services and ensure, for example, that a person exiting a mental health facility is not discharged into homelessness,” said Clare Martin.

The development of the White Paper shows the benefit of engaging with the community on complex problems like homelessness. Continuing discussions with housing and homelessness peak organisations is crucial to the success of this initiative.

ACOSS looks forward to working with our sector and the Government to ensure the targets to reduce homelessness are achieved.

Media Contact: Clare Cameron – 0419 626 155