Alarming ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) facts showing that one in 200 Australians are homeless, obviates an urgency to address this escalating need.
Homelessness is fundamentally reliant on housing for a meaningful solution.
This is why our commonwealth government committed to the NRAS (national rental affordability scheme) to invest in affordable rental housing, thereby increasing the supply of new affordable housing, reduced rentals and encouraged large scale investing.
The Australian government has provided approximately $250 million per year for homelessness initiatives. That is a lot of money. Trouble is, strings are attached. It appears that the right arm all too often doesn’t know what the left arm is doing!
Performance indicators are difficult to measure due to a lack of clarity of outcome measures and reform activities. E.G: procedural issues between Centrelink and community groups need a total revamp, a more effective, smooth flowing interaction.
In order to curb our homeless statistics, one homeless shelter, Sheltered By Grace believes that bold collective impact and different thinking could bring a new approach in order to streamline the funding and help provided by both government and other community organisations such as homeless shelters and their suppliers in order to be more productive.
Government isn’t asking the right questions and therefore isn’t getting the correct answers to work with. Sometimes tough love is required for the ones who are playing the system.
One idea for reform is that Government benefits should go straight to the housing provider and not into the pockets of individuals to be used for drugs or alcohol. Balanced measures should be utilized to prevent the perpetuation of homelessness, according to Sheltered By Grace. Procedural uniformity with sound follow-up and fact finding should be used so the hands know where the feet are going.
Those sleeping rough for extended periods of time, experience high rates of severe and persistent mental illness and serious medical conditions such as Hepatitis C, HIV/AIDS and chronic respiratory illnesses. They take much longer to ward off infections and can require prolonged care to get back to a stable health pattern. Lots of TLC is required for recovery.
U.K. researchers have found that those sleeping rough for extended periods of time can expect to die 30 years earlier than their peers with a stable housing history. That’s pretty difficult to digest, isn’t it!
The majority who are sleeping out are males aged between 25 and 55 (42% of our homeless are under 25 and 27% are under 18yrs) but Australia has over 400 children under 12 – living this way.
The Reconnect Program is a community based early intervention service to assist 12 -18 yr olds and aims to assist our youth to stabilize their living situation and improve work, education and training levels.
According to VCOSS (Victorian Council of Social Services), one of the most significant gaps in youth support services is the availability of psycho–social counselling services and early intervention to reduce the onset of serious mental illness.
These challenges can and do have serious lifelong consequences such as poorer health and wellbeing, lower education outcomes and poorer employment prospects. This is not only detrimental to the individual but also has additional cost ramifications to the wider community.
Aged care received $6.2 million in 2013/14 and $6.7 million in 2014/15. From 1st July 2015 the new CHSP (commonwealth Home Support Program) is amalgamating day therapy, national respite for carers and assistance with care and housing under the one program.
Over half of our homeless, seeking government funded shelter are turned away, denied their basic human entitlement.
Another shocking revelation is that approximately 1 in 37 children aged 0 – 4 yrs old spend time in a homeless service. Most are accompanied by a mother who is escaping domestic or family violence. Some revelation hey. These facts are substantiated by homelesslessnessaustralia.
In fact, CEO Glenda Stevens from Homelessness Australia says “It’s time government got serious about ending homelessness in Australia. 105,000 are homeless on any given night and these figures are climbing and the federal government appears to be disengaging and distancing themselves from homelessness.”
I believe a great starting place is to follow the lead of Sheltered by Grace.
This homeless shelter is making a difference by answering the call to arms and are expanding to an extra 36 beds and services available to cater for the extras in our homeless statistics. This is a timely and positive approach to helping our most needy.
This Not for Profit homeless shelter urgently needs your support to get those extra beds operational as soon as possible. Donate now.
Another way they are taking a positive stance, is by lobbying their local member for parliament in order to make some necessary changes in dealing with government bodies when advocating on behalf of a homeless client to ensure more effective productivity all round.
A united voice is more powerful than one individual voice, from a government perspective. In order to force action from our government on such an important issue we need to stand united against procrastination and inaction.
Why not get onto their website www.sbg.org.au and add your voice to this much needed response to homelessness statistics.
Too many people’s lives depend on this outcome.
Lend us your voice, lend us your hand, give us your support and together we will make a difference.