Homelessness Prevention Week

Samaritans CEO

This week is Homelessness Prevention Week – a time to recognise and respond to the harsh reality that 105,237 people in Australia are homeless. What is even more confronting is that children represent 27% of the homeless population. It is hard to believe that in a country filled with so much wealth that 1 in 200 people will be homeless on any given night.

There are a number of factors that contribute to this issue. Domestic and family violence is the largest single cause of homelessness. By taking more effective measures to prevent and limit these factors in the first place, the consequent flow on effect of homelessness can be avoided. Victims of domestic violence need to be supported with appropriate accommodation- fleeing to the streets should never have to be their only option.

A tax system reform that multiplies cheaper rental housing and promotes an increase in housing stock that is both affordable and appropriate for vulnerable people is needed. As well as a commitment from the government to grow the supply of public housing, the waiting list time is currently at an unacceptable 16 years.

I would also like to see guaranteed after care support for children leaving foster homes. Too many young people are left unsupported and without accommodation when they turn 18 and must leave foster care. With no family or parents to lean on for financial support when times are tough, these young people are at high risk to fall into the cycle of homelessness.

Samaritans is a charity that assists thousands of people in need throughout Newcastle & the Hunter. Find out how Samaritans can help you here