Access to stable and safe housing underpins functional families and communities. As a wealthy nation, Australia has the resources to ensure that everyone experiences belonging in a safe and supportive community, with appropriate, affordable housing.
UnitingCare, along with other community organisations, wants to see a halving of the number of homeless people by 2025. To achieve this goal it will be vital for different levels of government, and private and not-for-profit organisations, to work together.
Given the considerable research indicating the impacts of government policy settings on housing affordability, the Australian Government, States and Territories should properly assess these impacts, and design reforms to encourage investment in affordable housing supply.
All governments should work together to support innovative models that ensure low income households have access to appropriate social housing or affordable private rental accommodation and, where necessary, supported accommodation is available to people needing other services to avoid homelessness.
Homelessness and housing affordability are interrelated issues which affect a significant proportion of Australians to some degree.
Many experience barriers to appropriate housing that are related to their personal situation, such as family breakdown or mental health issues, which need to be addressed in addition to the general issue of the lack of housing that is affordable for people on low incomes (even with the types of financial assistance currently available).
Various groups in our community are more vulnerable to homelessness or a lack of affordable housing.
It is an issue that impacts on the health and wellbeing of older people (particularly single women), on the capacity of children, youth, Indigenous people and immigrants to achieve their potential to contribute to society, and on the ability of mentally ill and disabled Australians to lead a dignified life.
The largest providers of homelessness services across Australia today joined forces to call on all political parties to make reducing homelessness a national priority. In a joint letter to the four party leaders, the major charities Anglicare, Mission Australia, Salvation Army, St Vincent de Paul, UnitingCare Australia and Wesley Mission demanded a commitment to halving homelessness by 2025.