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Youth Homelessness and Leaving Care: The Case to #MakeIt21

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In the 5 years between the 2011 and 2016 Census, youth homelessness (18-24) has increased a staggering 46% to 27,680. In unaffordability hot-spots like NSW it has increased by 117%, and has even increased in states like Tasmania where the overall rate of homelessness is down. Each of those numbers represents a young life negotiating the transition to adulthood without a safe place to call home.

The reality is that we are failing our young people – sky-high rents, a casualised labour force, deregulated and underfunded higher education are just some of what waits for young people entering adulthood today.

If you’re not yet convinced that we have legislated away the potential for independence – let’s look at the general population for more insight. Read More

Census Homelessness Figures: A Quick Explainer

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The 2016 Census numbers on homelessness have been out for a week, and you’ve probably seen the news articles swirling around the web.

If you are not a policy boffin, or working in the homelessness sector you can be forgiven for not really knowing what it all means. We have thrown together a helpful explainer, so you don’t have to do the hard work breaking it all down.

House Prices are Closely Linked to Homelessness 

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Why Solutions to Indigenous Housing Won’t Come From Canberra

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There is no one-size fits all approach to indigenous housing. The needs of remote communities are not that same as those in urban areas. What is common across the board is the impact of bad government intervention.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders make up 23% of homeless persons, but represent 3% of the population. The vast majority of Indigenous homelessness is due to severe overcrowding (which is considered as a form of homelessness).

At StreetSmart, we work to mobilise resources for critically underfunded homelessness initiatives. Our partners in the Indigenous sector tell us they have fight tooth and nail to get the government to invest in their work. The money is there – with investments like the Remote Housing Partnership worth $5.4 billion. But it doesn’t ‘trickle down.’ Read More

5 Questions For Government On Indigenous Housing

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In 2011 the WA government implemented a ‘big stick’ approach to public housing evictions. Because Indigenous people are more likely to require public housing, and more likely to have complex issues – the practice has meant more Indigenous evictions. The First Nations Project have proven that the big-stick is unwarranted. By providing the assistance a family needs, like property maintenance and psycho-social support they need. The Project has prevented 100% of evictions and achieved this result with an army of volunteers and very little funding. When the taxpayer bill for every eviction is $40,000 and comes at enormous cost the family, we have to ask – who is it really helping? Read More

5 Things You Need to Know About Indigenous Housing

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There has been a lot of media surrounding the governments’ annual report on Closing the Gap. The results are sobering, and sadly not surprising given the paternalistic and poorly managed implementation by successive governments. Some Indigenous leaders have called for new targets to be included in Closing the Gap, including housing justice, family violence, and children in care. So what is the situation in Indigenous housing? 

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Seventy and Homeless for the First Time: The Rise of Older Women’s Homelessness

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While the stereotypical face of poverty is a older man – a lifetime down on his luck, the fastest growing demographic of people experiencing homelessness is single women over the age of 55.

For 15 years StreetSmart has been funding smaller grassroots organisations on the front line of community services. In recent years we have supported a number of services that are raising alarm bells about the scale of the issue, and the need for urgent reform. Read More

The State of Housing and Homelessness in 2017

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As we wind up another year, it is a good time to pause and reflect on where we have come from, and where we need to go. Sadly, 2017 has not been a positive year for the state of homelessness. We have continued to backslide on key issues like affordable housing, and maintained the status quo in key funding areas. While government has failed to act, 2017 has also seen increasing public concern, and greater media reporting on the causes and harms of homelessness. Read More

CafeSmart Supporters Power 156 Community Projects

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Here at StreetSmart we love this time of year.  DineSmart is in full swing with 122 restaurants around the country busy raising funds for us and we get to announce our CafeSmart Community Grants – the culmination of all that hard work a few months ago. With the support of thousands of coffee drinkers and more than 763 cafes we were able to raise a record $215,500 back on 4th August. Our generous Sponsors sponsored, Roasters donated beans, baristas brewed, and thousands of people came together to raise funds and take action against homelessness.

The Grenet Foundation and the Australian Communities Foundation kicked in an additional $70,000 in matched funding through our ‘Collective’ – bringing our CafeSmart total to $285,500 for local homelessness projects.

We have been able to support 156 organisations across Australia, including 46 new organisations and 12 Lead Grant projects. A massive thank you to everyone who got involved and made these grants possible – here is where your dollars are headed….

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Tackling Homelessness in the Suburbs

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So-called ‘tent city’ on the doorstep of the Reserve Bank in Sydney and Flinders Street in Melbourne has generated a lot of media, and heavy-handed responses from public institutions. But sadly, homelessness in metro Australia is just the tip of a much greater problem.

A recent report by the Council for Homeless Persons found that 37% of rough sleepers are in the middle and outer suburbs, whereas only 8% of people sleeping rough gravitate to inner metro areas.

“Rough sleeping in the CBD and central areas has a lot of visibility and media coverage, but there are a lot of rough sleepers in the outer suburbs,” says Jay Church from Anchor Housing, an organisation servicing Melbourne’s Yarra Ranges, and our StreetFunder supported project this October.

The Yarra Ranges includes the very outer urban fringe and semi-rural areas. The region ranks highly housing stress, which is estimated to sit at 30.3%. It also ranks in the top 10 areas for socio-economic disadvantaged communities nationally.

“The Yarra Ranges includes pockets of deep poverty and a highly vulnerable demographic,” Church said. “Coupled with the cost of private rental, the capacity to meet that cost is simply out of reach for lots of people.”

Suburban homelessness is increasing in lockstep with rising housing prices, stagnant wages and, below poverty level income support payments. In areas with few job opportunities, and poor amenities, services like Anchor Housing are a lifeline for people doing it tough.

The Rough Sleeper Initiative engaged rough sleepers in Melbourne, Port Phillip, Stonnington and Yarra Ranges. They found the majority of people were on some form of income support, and in labour force. “This picture supports a conclusion that labour market conditions and low-income support payments are drivers of increasing levels of homelessness and rough sleeping,” the report said.

Anchor Housing provided 1,839 bed nights in 2016/17 and about 46% of those helped were already homeless when they presented. The other 54% are part of a growing demographic of the ‘almost homeless’ – people in deep financial stress and at risk of losing their home.

Deep cuts to the federal social services budget over successive years has stripped away the ability of many services to assist people in crisis who need assistance with bills, rent, medicines, food and other basic needs.

We have been funding homelessness organisations for fifteen years, and the sad reality is that it is getting worse, not better. More and more people require help to meet very basic living costs, and often small amounts of funding are all that stands between someone having a home and them ending up homeless. Meanwhile, services are having their funding cut, or left in a constant state of limbo.

StreetSmart has supported Anchor with $15,900 in community grants since 2006 and will be supporting Anchor again this October to try and redress the black hole funding cuts have left in their material aid budget. That means a food voucher for a young family in crisis accommodation or financial assistance to keep up with the cost of private rental.

We support people who are experiencing homelessness to get back on track, including people are rough sleeping. We also do a lot of work with people at risk. Preventing people from becoming homeless in the first place is a key.”

If you want to support Anchor Housing to maintain vital material aid, you can donate to our October StreetFunder here.

 

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