The latest figures released from the ABS show a frightening picture of homelessness across Australia.
The data shows both an increase in the number of people who were homeless as well as an increase in the homeless rate from 48 persons for every 10,000 persons in 2011 to 50 persons for every 10,000 persons in 2016. Overall on census night 2016, 116,427 people were counted as homeless.
Yet at the same time charities have been highly active in reducing homelessness where they can and in reducing its effects. This decade over 800,000 people have been helped because they were homeless or at risk of homelessness.
“However, charities can only do so much” said Dr John Falzon, CEO of the St Vincent de Paul, National Council. “It is now time for the Federal Government to show real leadership and make some brave decisions to end homelessness in our rich country.”
Three things that the Government should do are:
· End negative gearing on established properties and the bias in capital gains tax on investment properties;
· Double the amount of money made available to build more social housing;
· Develop a long-term strategy and national action plan to support a more coordinated and effective approach to preventing and reducing homelessness.
“We have to move away from seeing homelessness only as an individual problem and understand that it is the way that we organise our society that makes homelessness for some people almost impossible to avoid. Charities like St Vincent de Paul will always continue to support those experiencing homelessness, but the Government must also pull its weight in contributing to a fairer society in which no one gets left out,” Dr Falzon said.