Housing Outcomes Poor Even with NFP Support:Report
Thursday, 2nd October 2014 at 11:09 am
Australians who are among the most socially and economically disadvantaged have poorer housing outcomes, even with support from homelessness agencies, a Government report has found.
This is one of the main findings of a report released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) which also praised the work of Specialist Homelessness Services.
The report, Housing outcomes for groups vulnerable to homelessness: 1 July 2011 to 31 December 2013, looks at people who are vulnerable to homelessness- those experiencing domestic and family violence, young people presenting alone, people with problematic drug and alcohol use and those with a current mental health issue.
The report examines the housing outcomes of over 94,000 clients of Specialist Homelessness Services between 1 July 2011 to 31 December 2013 that support people who are homeless as well as people who are at risk of becoming homeless.
“Across all cohorts those clients who were unemployed, had no income or were only receiving income support payments, had a past history of homelessness and more complex presenting issues were least likely to remain in their housing or be able to obtain housing,” AIHW spokesperson Geoff Neideck said.
“The poorest housing outcomes were seen among those who had problematic drug and alcohol use. This cohort had the highest rates of homelessness at both the start and finish of support compared to other cohorts.”
The report also highlights the work that services undertake to keep people housed and assist homeless persons into stable housing.
“Specialist Homelessness Services put considerable effort into preventing those most at risk of losing their housing falling into homelessness,” Neideck said.
“It also takes considerable support by agencies to assist a person into housing once they have become homeless. The group of clients who presented homeless and became housed were supported for the greatest median number of days of support.
“This illustrates the level of effort that goes into assisting people to become housed or preventing clients from falling into homelessness, often where there are difficult or complex circumstances.”
The AIHW is a major national agency set up by the Federal Government to provide regular and relevant information and statistics on Australia's health and welfare.
Welfare organisation Mission Australia has called for greater investment in affordable housing and early intervention programs, following the release of the AIHW report.
Mission Australia CEO Catherine Yeomans said the findings make it clear that the best way to solve homelessness is by preventing it in the first place.
“It’s no surprise that the more complex an individual’s situation becomes, the harder it is for them to find or maintain stable accommodation,” Yeomans said.
“But if we fund early intervention and provide effective tenancy support programs we can help to prevent the crisis that leads to people falling into the homelessness cycle.
“Not only is this better for the individuals, it makes economic sense too. In short, it’s cheaper to help people stay housed than it is to try and help them once they’re homeless.
“But none of this is possible if there isn’t adequate housing supply. With 220,000 people on public and community housing waitlists, and a huge lack of affordable private rentals, many are struggling to keep or get a roof over their head as the pressures mount.
“We need serious investment in social and affordable housing to address the current market failures. And we need to ensure we have the supports and services in place to prevent people who do have housing from losing it.
“As the Federal, State and Territory Governments move toward discussions on the future of national partnership agreements on homelessness and housing this must be front of mind.”