Govt Delivers Funds for Frontline Homelessness Services
8 August 2017 at 8:43 am
The federal government has delivered $117.2 million in funding to support front-line services addressing homelessness.
Around 85,000 people, particularly women and children affected by domestic violence and vulnerable young people, will be supported through 757 front line services through the Transitional National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness (NPAH).
The government said the agreement, which has been extended through until June 2018, would provide certainty while state and territory governments continued to work together on long-term homelessness reforms.
The government said it had brought forward the announcement “well ahead of the 2017‑18 Budget to give providers of frontline homelessness services the certainty they need to get on with their work of helping some of our most vulnerable Australians”.
In 2015 the Coalition restored funding for the NPAH providing $230 million over two years, which was matched by the states, to extend the NPAH for two years and to prioritise this funding for women and children experiencing domestic violence and homeless youth.
State and territory treasurers last week agreed on further steps to consider potential options to improve housing supply and affordability and agreed to the establishment of a taskforce to examine options for a bond aggregator to assist in providing more affordable housing stock.
All ministers at the November 2016 meeting of housing and homelessness ministers agreed to progress reform and reinvigorate housing and homelessness policies and funding arrangements.
“It has become increasingly clear that there is an urgent need for reforming both the affordable housing and homelessness sectors,” assistant minister for social services Zed Seselja said.
“Despite significant investment in housing and homelessness assistance by all governments of almost $10 billion a year—including around $6.8 billion of Commonwealth funding—housing and homelessness outcomes continue to decline.
“The number of Australians accessing homelessness services has increased by eight per cent since 2011-12 to more than 255,000 people in 2014-15.”
The Coalition government called on the states and territories to now match the Commonwealth’s funding commitment to assist frontline services under the Transitional NPAH and progress the necessary reform to reduce the alarming rise in homelessness.
Baptist Care Australia welcomed the federal government announcement saying: “The whole sector has been united in advocating for secure and sustainable funding for homelessness and affordable housing services for some time.
“It’s very encouraging to see the government following through on funding commitments from this year’s budget,” executive director of Baptist Care Australia Marcia Balzer said.
“But we encourage all governments to work together to find and fund real, sustainable solutions to our housing and homelessness crisis.
“We can’t get away from the fact that we must take urgent action on public and community housing.
On Monday Homelessness Australia called on the government to build an additional 100,000 public and community housing properties over the next five years.
“Baptist Care Australia is adding its voice to that call for action,” Balzer said.
“We just do not have a large enough affordable housing stock to meet demand.
“More than a third of people seeking help from homeless services (38 per cent) are escaping domestic or family violence and 1.3 million households are either unable to access private rentals or experiencing rental stress. Governments need to act now to stop the homelessness epidemic from worsening.
“This can only be achieved through stronger collaboration across all levels of government, as well as the not-for-profit and finance sectors, to work towards a suite of sustainable solutions.
“In particular, sustainable housing solutions for people on low incomes or income support are critical. We urge all governments to join forces, collaborate with the community and business sectors, and rise to the challenge of providing 100,000 new public and community housing properties in the next five years.
“The holes in our social housing safety net have been getting bigger with each passing year. It’s well past time that we started to repair them,” Balzer said.