Almost 100 Homeless Turned Away From Support Every Day
29 January 2015 at 9:14 am
Almost 100 people are being turned away from homeless support services every day in Victoria, according to the state’s peak homelessness body.
The Council to Homeless Persons said that a new State Government report released yesterday revealed that the number of people going without help was growing.
The annual Report on Government Services showed that during the last financial year, 92 Victorians who needed accommodation and other support were turned away from support agencies.
Acting CEO of the Council to Homeless Persons, Sarah Toohey, said the number is an increase from 79 in 2012/13 and follows Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) data which showed that the total number of Victorians seeking help from homelessness services rose eight per cent to nearly 100,000 in the same year.
“It’s hugely distressing as a sector to know that we are forced to turn away nearly 100 people in need every day simply because we don’t have the resources to help them,” Toohey said.
Toohey said the report also revealed that a third of Victorians seeking accommodation last financial year were turned away because of a lack of crisis beds, temporary accommodation and public housing to place them in.
She said the findings underlined the need for the Federal Government to announce the much-anticipated extension of the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness (NPAH), which provides annual funding of $23 million to Victoria and is due to expire on 30 June.
“Every major indicator points to the problem of homelessness worsening, but funding uncertainty means our agencies are fighting the battle with one hand tied behind their back,” Toohey said.
“We have a national funding agreement that is just months away from expiring and a Federal Government that has yet to confirm it will be extended.
“We’re seeing more people knocking on the doors of homelessness agencies, and more people having to be turned away because there just aren’t the resources to help them.”
Toohey said the NPAH funds around 90 Victorian homelessness services to provide programs and services to women and children fleeing family violence, young people leaving state care and families at risk of homelessness.
“Many workers are on contracts that expire when the NPAH funding expires, so by March services will be preparing to make difficult decisions about who stays and who goes,” she said.
“We’re talking about the future of thousands of vulnerable Victorians.”