Homeless funding agreement must be renewed soon
The current National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness runs out on July 1, 2017, but is yet to be renewed by the Federal Government.
I am increasingly concerned that the Federal Government intends to walk away from their funding commitments to homelessness. I invite the Government to allay my concerns, and I thus urge the Government to renew the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness as soon as possible.
I also urge the Federal Government to provide longer-term funding in any Partnership Agreement that they negotiate. The short-term funding agreements we are increasingly seeing create regular valleys of death for the sectors they affect, with good quality staff moving on because their jobs cannot be guaranteed until continuity of funding is announced.
This stop-start result dramatically reduces the efficacy of the money that the Government does spend. Given the critical importance of early-intervention with services in homelessness, Australia simply cannot afford to resort to last-minute, short-term deals if it wants to address this problem as effectively as possible.
Domestic violence is another piece of the homelessness puzzle. St Vincent de Pauls indicates that domestic violence is a factor in 36% of homelessness cases. To echo their report “The Ache for Home”, “If Australia wants to seriously deal with domestic violence effectively then it is necessary to address the crisis of social and affordable housing.”
The leading cause of homelessness in my electorate is family violence. There are 48 people per 10,000 head of population without homes in Mayo compared with 38 per 10,000 across the South Australia.
More Australians than ever before are becoming homeless, or are at imminent risk of homelessness. Every dollar spent now helps prevent more Australians from falling out of secure housing.
According to Swinburne University, youth homelessness alone costs the community more than $600m a year in additional health and criminal justice services. Preventative spending on homelessness is thus not just an investment in the future of vulnerable Australians, it is also an investment in the sustainability of Federal and State Budgets.
To the Government I say – the thousands of Australians who are either homeless or facing homelessness are relying on you to act, and act with urgency. Please do not dismiss this issue as a matter for individual States to carry alone.