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Reducing homelessness and its links to family violence a national priority

Published: 16 June 2016

Reducing homelessness and its strong links to family violence must be a national priority, the President of the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW), Professor Karen Healy AM, said today.

Responding to the call by Australia’s largest homelessness service providers for a national plan to reduce homelessness, she said reduced housing affordability and lack of adequate services particularly disadvantages people attempting to leave situations of violence.

“Evidence shows that a significant number of people seeking assistance from homelessness agencies are women and children escaping family violence,” said Professor Healy.

“Better access to housing and supports can help address this issue but so can a greater focus on removing the perpetrator and enabling women and children to remain in their homes and connected to their schools and communities.”

With the numbers of homeless people growing, Professor Healy said, Australia urgently needs a multifaceted national approach that includes greater access to support services and more affordable and social housing.

“Affordable housing shortages directly affect the health, educational, employment, and emotional wellbeing of individuals, families and communities,” Professor Healy said.

“The decline in government investment has meant homelessness for some. For many others it has meant being trapped in poverty from which there is little hope of escape.

“In this election campaign developing a comprehensive plan for reducing homelessness must be a priority for all political parties.”

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AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers