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National homelessness funding commitment a great relief but more to do

Date published: Tuesday 9 May 2017

Category(ies): Media release

The peak body for Baptist community service organisations, Baptist Care Australia, welcomes the Budget commitment to increased funding stability for homeless services.

“The whole sector has been united in advocating for secure funding for homelessness services,” said Marcia Balzer, Executive Director of Baptist Care Australia.

“It’s a great relief that the government has committed to working with the states and territories on a new National Housing and Homelessness Agreement that will include $375 million for homelessness and crisis accommodation services.

“We hope this agreement can be finalised quickly without any gaps or shortfalls between the end of the existing agreement and implementation of the new one. If so, it will be a lifeline to more than tens of thousands of Australians who are homeless right now.

“In the 2011 Census, nearly 18,000 people who were homeless were children under 12 years of age.

“More than a third of people seeking help from a homeless service (38%) are escaping domestic violence, and that number has been steadily growing over recent years.

“In 2015-2016, 106,000 adults and children sought help from homelessness services due to domestic violence.[1]

“Having stable funding will help provide certainty for homeless services and the people they serve,” Ms Balzer said.

Baptist Care Australia supports Housing Australia’s people: a serious plan released by ACOSS and National Shelter before the Budget. It called for a five-year funding guarantee for homelessness services, while encouraging improved integration between homelessness services and the broader social and affordable housing system.

“A sustainable plan to reduce the need for these services over time would also have been a valuable investment for the government. There’s more work to do to reduce demand for homeless services.

“In particular, sustainable housing solutions for people on low incomes or income support are critical. The holes in our social housing safety net have been getting bigger with each passing year. It’s well past time that we started to repair them,” Ms Balzer said.

The Baptist Care network provides social and affordable housing for more than 500 households as well as crisis accommodation for domestic violence victims, refugees and disadvantaged young people. Along with a safe place to live, support services are provided to help residents rebuild their lives, connect with their communities, and live independently while they age or live with disability.

ENDS

Contact: Marcia Balzer, Executive Director, Baptist Care Australia, marcia.balzer@baptistcareaustralia.org.au, 0430 175 310



[1] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2016)Specialist Homelessness Services 2015-2016. Available: http://www.aihw.gov.au/homelessness/specialist-homelessness-services-2015-16/