The St Vincent De Paul Society has last week released a statement highlighting that the theme for this year’s Homelessness Week, “It’s time to End Homelessness”, is a very real issue for those we assist, and front of mind for our members, volunteers and staff.
The recently concluded Homelessness Week 2023, observed from 7 to 13 August brought critical attention to the Australia’s housing crisis and its far-reaching implications.
“All over the country, requests for assistance are increasing and we are seeing people who have previously never sought our help,” said National President, Mark Gaetani.
“More and more people are seeking emergency relief to cover the basics, such as food vouchers, while they prioritise accommodation costs over other essentials. These are choices Australians should not have to make,” he said.
The statement continued by explaining that the Society is acutely aware of the extra pressures the cost of living and the growing housing crisis is placing on people, increasing their risk of homelessness.
Many more people are contacting the Society for help with rental arrears to avoid eviction.
Others are couch surfing, living in tents and caravan parks, or forced to seek emergency accommodation.
The Society continues to help with rental and accommodation options.
Today’s reality is that people in crisis accommodation are on an endless cycle, forced to transition from one form of temporary accommodation to another simply because there are too few affordable and permanent housing options.
The statistics on homelessness are damning. One in seven are children, one in five identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander, and 23 per cent are aged 12 to 24 years.
“With more than 122,000 people homeless each night, we need all governments to act now.
“According to Homelessness Australia up to half of those seeking assistance do so because of housing or finances, including rent. It is time to end homelessness in this country.
“Charities cannot carry the burden of homelessness on their own. Today the Society is finding it increasingly difficult to meet the demand. More people are in need, but our resources cannot meet this stretch which means fewer people can be assisted,’ said National President Mark Gaetani.
Read the Society’s 2023 advocacy materials on Housing and Homelessness for more information on our policy position and our calls to all governments to act now.
As the national conversation rightly intensifies around housing supply, Catholic Social Services Victoria has released a discussion paper ‘Housing as Homes’ encouraging creative solutions for utilising existing housing stock effectively, while emphasising the importance of robust social and community support systems to meet the holistic needs of individuals.
Executive Director of Catholic Social Services Victoria Josh Lourensz, said the housing crisis impacts a wide spectrum of our community.
“When even those with jobs struggle to find affordable housing, individuals on fixed incomes, some below the poverty line, face insurmountable challenges,” Mr Lourensz said.
“Secure and affordable accommodation options should be accessible to everyone, but special attention must be given to those facing additional complexities and disadvantages.”