Charity: Budget fails homelessness
2017 Budget disappoints some.
Homelessness Australia says that the Budget fails to deliver the big-picture solutions needed to end homelessness.
‘While the increased security of funding for homelessness services is very welcome, the fact remains that we can’t house the 105,000 Australians experiencing homelessness each night until there is a real increase in in public housing to get 200,000 people off waiting lists,” said Jenny Smith, Chair, Homelessness Australia.
The Treasurer announced that a new National Housing and Homelessness Agreement (NHHA) will replace the current National Affordable Housing Agreement (NAHA) and National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness (NPAH), but that the level of funding for homelessness services and public and community housing will only be maintained in real terms.
Smith also criticised plans to cut welfare payments to people who fail drug tests or don’t turn up to appointments, “Taking away the incomes of those who are already poor, have an addiction or mental health issue is a surefire way to fast-track them into homelessness.”
“The Treasurer has failed in his promise to deliver a Budget that focuses on fairness, opportunity and security for those doing it tough,” she said.
“The most fundamental form of security is a safe and affordable place to live, and yet this Budget does nothing to get 200,000 people off public housing waiting lists.
“The best opportunity you can give your kids is a stable home, but 29,000 Australians under 18 will remain homeless under this Budget.”
“This budget is not fair, because it fails to fix a broken housing system that encourages investors to own more than one house while 105,000 have no home at all,” said Smith.
“Maintaining the existing funding levels will allow homelessness services to keep the lights on, but they’ll still be turning away 275 people every day, and we’ll continue to see homelessness numbers climb.”
The Treasurer also revealed details of a bond aggregator, which will enable community housing associations to access cheaper finance, plus the release of small packages of defence land, and minor changes to negative gearing.
“A bond aggregator isn’t a silver bullet. Australia is grappling with a big homelessness problem, but we’ve yet to see a big solution. This Federal Budget is a missed opportunity to show the courage and leadership needed to solve this humanitarian crisis,” said Smith.