Roughly 116,000 Australians are homeless on any given night.
The latest census data shows rate of homelessness in Australia has increased 4.6 per cent in the past five years, of those almost 20,000 were children under 12.
It’s a deeply saddening statistic – to think so many of us have no where to call home tonight and that so many are struggling in rural and regional areas.
As Border-based advocate Kate Young knows first hand, homelessness is not just about a roof over your head. The causes of homelessness are more complex than most people may think.
We need to turn around deeply ingrained attitudes to homelessness. Public attitudes were lagging behind the facts.
A Victorian government survey found Victorians were more likely to believe homelessness stemmed from drug and alcohol use than systemic issues such as housing affordability or the availability of social housing.
Solutions must be tailored specific to our region, not transplanted from solutions applied elsewhere.
In the past week Australia marked Homelessness Week, but it is an important issue that needs on-going attention.
The week promoted the theme ‘ending homelessness together’. It calls for government action driven by the compassion of individuals and a chance for us to consider the issue and potential solutions specific to the Border and North East.
Welfare organisations are calling for increased investment in social housing and services urgently.
The Inclusionary Housing Pilot will see at least 100 social housing dwellings, in addition to affordable housing and private dwellings, built across six sites – including on the old Wodonga South Primary School site.
As part of a Victorian government program, the lots are “surplus to government needs” and will be developed by the private sector in partnership with community housing providers.
This is a smart, welcome move and must be supported at every step.