The team at StreetSmart Australia is deeply concerned about how COVID-19 is impacting people experiencing homelessness and those who are about to be at risk. What we do know, is that Australia has a strong history of community spirit and we will be doing our part to support the small, local, grassroots organisations who will now be on the frontline of this health crisis. The situation is complex and shifting daily, and unfortunately will be placing even more strain on already stretched homeless services. Before this pandemic even began, more than 116,000 people were without a home around the country.
We know that poverty, losing your job and being unable to pay rent are key factors in people becoming homeless. We are saddened by the impact this is having on our hospitality partners, so please consider supporting your local venue if they are providing takeaway.
We are calling on the Federal and State Governments to include targeted support to prevent evictions and keep people housed, and support NGOs to respond to increasing demand for assistance while managing the impact of COVID-19 on staff and clients.
We are currently fast tracking our next round of community grants to help organisations cope with the crisis, and looking to test and support new systems of support.
Stay tuned because we will continue to provide updates on how we are supporting those most vulnerable in our community during this crisis.
A message from a community partner providing homelessness services in Sydney…
“COVID-19 is going to have a disproportionately greater impact on people experiencing homelessness than the general community. Our key challenge at this time is to support people who are experiencing homelessness (in all forms) to remain as healthy as possible for as long as possible. A pragmatic but heartbreaking assumption that we have is that if the ‘curve isn’t flattened’ and the health system cannot cope with demand, our clients will be the first to miss out.
To help with keeping people experiencing homelessness as healthy as possible, for as long as possible, organisations such as Haymarket have focused heavily on maintaining business continuity. Simply, we need ongoing access to the appropriate resources (staff, capital, and supply chain) to deliver critical services for as long as the pandemic response requires. Since Monday this week, we’ve had almost double the amount of people calling ad requesting accommodation. Supply issues are driven by our staff having to self-isolate, and the general public (quite rightly) ensuring they are safe and prepared in an environment of uncertainty.” – Peter Valpiani, CEO, The Haymarket Foundation.
Originally posted Wednesday 25 March 2020