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Homelessness Week 2017: It’s time to address the poverty traps that lead to homelessness, including family violence

Published: 4 August 2017

Homelessness Week is an opportunity for the government to seriously commit to providing meaningful interventions to address the basic human right to safe and stable accommodation, the President of the Australian Association of Social Workers, Professor Karen Healy AM, has said today.

“Reducing homelessness and its strong links to family violence must be a national priority as evidence shows that a significant number of people seeking assistance from homelessness agencies are women and children escaping family violence,” said Professor Healy.

“Women and children in family violence situations are often unable to leave and find safety. Inadequate income support drives them into poverty traps, homelessness, and poor outcomes across all areas of wellbeing.”

Professor Healy says social workers are directly involved with assisting individuals and families to locate and maintain secure and affordable housing but they are finding it more difficult to achieve these outcomes.

“Every day, social workers see the devastating impact of years of inaction on individuals and families,” Professor Healy said.

“Our governments at every level must collaborate to enable affordable and accessible housing, increased rental assistance and income support, and the expanded responses required to both target and reduce the negative individual experiences and consequences of homelessness.”

The AASW represents 10,000 professional social workers in Australia who are committed to working with communities and individuals to promote wellbeing, human rights and social justice. Many practice directly with, and advocate for, housing rights, welfare, and women experiencing family violence. Read the AASW’s position statements about homelessness

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers