Inquiry into Homelessness in Australia: AASW calls for an increase in social housing
Published: 7 July 2020
The AASW, in our submission to the Inquiry into Homelessness in Australia, calls on the government to build or acquire additional social housing.
AASW National President Christine Craik said the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that we can respond to homelessness quickly as a response to a threat to public health, which has protected some of the most vulnerable people in our society.
Ms Craik said, “Providing housing first and continuing with wrap-around support to ensure this housing is stable, secure and long term, is a proven way to end homelessness. Social workers do this support work every day and we know how successful and beneficial it can be.”
Successions of governments at all levels however have continued to allow social housing stock to reduce and deteriorate across the country, which is the main contributing factor to the homelessness crisis we face in the country.
Due to an Australia-wide housing affordability crisis, social housing is often the only secure tenure available to people on income support. It is all they can afford and it is an important measure to ensure people who would otherwise be at risk in unsafe rooming houses, in overcrowded houses, or living on the streets. Everyone deserves the right to have access to the dignity and independence of secure housing.
Social workers know the effects that a lack of secure housing has on vulnerable people and how it intersects across many of the marginalised areas of practice that social workers work in, including family violence, child protection and mental health.
Ms Craik said, “Social housing waiting lists are prohibitive and, in some areas, decades long. As the demand increases, there has been a corresponding decrease in Government funding. This has led to a crisis for those individuals and families seeking shelter and for those services who provide support to the homeless.
“Governments at all levels need to urgently increase funding to build or acquire more social housing and to increase the services needed to support these individuals and families. The COVID-19 pandemic economic recovery provides a fantastic opportunity to do this and it should be taken as a matter of priority.”
To interview Christine Craik, please contact Angela Yin on 0413 532 954.
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