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Welcome measures in the Budget, but a proper plan still needed to make inroads into growing homelessness

May 16, 2024

The Federal Budget includes a welcome increase in Commonwealth Rent Assistance that will soften the impact of forecast rent rises in 2024, however the failure to properly lift income support will expose more people to the threat of homelessness.

Homelessness Australia also welcomes the inclusion of lapsing temporary funding for homelessness in the base funding for the new federal state housing and homelessness agreement, effectively making this funding permanent, and maintaining the value of the overall funding envelope.

The greater focus of investment in the new housing and homelessness agreement on homelessness is a step forward, as is the allocation of the previously committed $1 billion funds in the National Housing Infrastructure Facility to create much needed housing for homeless young people and women and children fleeing violence. The $5000 leaving violence payment is also an important improvement.

These measures build on commitments in previous Budgets from this Government to the Housing Australia Future Fund and other programs that are delivering new social housing.

However, the failure to increase the JobSeeker and Youth Allowance payments to a level that covers basic essential costs, including rent, will continue to drive people into homelessness and limit people’s ability to escape homelessness into new rental housing. Outside the Northern Territory, the Budget includes no new investments in First Nations housing.

Homelessness Australia CEO, Kate Colvin said the Albanese Government’s scale of overall social housing commitments stood in stark contrast to the previous Government’s cuts to affordable housing programs. However, a bolder housing investment vision is needed to address the huge and growing shortfall in availability of low cost rentals.

“The income support and housing measures in this Budget will make an important dent in our crisis, however they will not resolve it,” Colvin said. “Australia will continue to have a significant homelessness problem due to the scale of the housing crisis and the flood of need from victim survivors fleeing violence

“We will work constructively with the Government to craft and deliver the lasting change needed to end homelessness. Each new dollar invested in income support or in social housing and homelessness means homelessness services can do more to reduce homelessness.”

For interviews: Nick Lucchinelli 0422 229 032

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