March 30, 2022
Homelessness services face a $39.4 million funding black hole from July 2023, after the Budget failed to provide appropriate ongoing funding for staff costs, despite surging demand for services.
Approximately 116,000 Australians are experiencing homelessness and almost 300,000 people will seek the support of homelessness services this year as they escape violence, or grapple with rising rents and the shortage of social and affordable housing. Nationally, rents have risen by 9.7 per cent over the past year.
The federal Budget not only ignored this increased demand, it also effectively cut funding. The Budget fails to renew previous funding that covered the cost of the equal remuneration order, which lifted the wages of homelessness workers to reflect the value of their work.
Jenny Smith, chair of Homelessness Australia, said the combination of increased demand and shrinking resources was diabolical.
“We are dealing with an utterly toxic set of circumstances. As rents surge, so does demand for homelessness services. Yet we have a $40 million black hole to contend with.
“This will make life harder for women escaping violence, people recovering from serious health crises and those who have just been frozen out of the rental and labour markets.
“All of this is badly aggravated by the wholesale abandonment of social and affordable housing. The draft National Plan to End Violence Against Women and Children expressly recognised the need for more social housing, yet it has been totally overlooked.
“Each year an estimated 7,690 women return to perpetrators because they have nowhere to go, and an estimated 9,120 women become homeless. Over the next year it is going to be a lot harder to help these women.
“While the Budget includes a five-year, $100 million commitment to provide more crisis accommodation for women fleeing violence, it lacks any accompanying resources to fund the support needed to women in refuges, or housing options to support them to leave violence.
“This Budget not only fails to improve homelessness, but it also aggravates the problem.”
To arrange interview, contact Nick Lucchinelli 0422 229 032