Calls for a new homelessness strategy

According to a report of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs released 4 August 2021, Australian governments should work together to establish a ten-year national strategy on homelessness.

The report makes 35 recommendations, which propose a renewed approach to preventing and addressing homelessness in Australia.

The Committee’s recommendations include a stronger focus on prevention and early intervention, wider adoption of the ‘Housing First’ principle – which would see housing made available to people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness as an immediate priority – and new approaches to increase investment in social and affordable housing.

The recommendations also include more crisis, emergency and transitional accommodation, improvements to data collection and reporting, and a new funding model to ensure that housing and homelessness services are provided to those most in need.

Chair of the Committee, Andrew Wallace MP, highlights that a coordinated national approach is needed to bring down the number of people who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

“This week marks National Homelessness Week, which is a reminder that homelessness is all too common in Australia,” Mr Wallace says.

“Each night, 10s of thousands of Australians are without a place to call home, while many others are at risk of becoming homeless.

“We know that the impacts of homelessness can be profound and long-lasting.

“While the states and territories are responsible for housing and homelessness, a clear and consistent message to the Committee was that there is a need for a national approach.

“A national strategy would lead to better coordination, more accountability and a stronger focus on the policies that work – prevention and early intervention, providing housing as a priority, and encouraging more investment in social and affordable housing.

“There is no quick fix to end homelessness in Australia, but the Committee’s recommendations set out a way forward for all levels of government to work together, alongside community organisations and the private sector, to achieve a real reduction in the number of people who are homeless or at risk,” he says.

A full copy of the Committee’s report can be found on the inquiry’s website.

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