HELPING PEOPLE AVOID HOMELESSNESS BENEFITS ALL – TURNBULL’S CUTS ARE COUNTERPRODUCTIVE

16 Mar 2017

A report launched today by the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute has found that for every dollar spent on helping people avoid homelessness, $2.70 in benefits will flow to the community over 20 years.

A report launched today by the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute has found that for every dollar spent on helping people avoid homelessness, $2.70 in benefits will flow to the community over 20 years.

The report finds that the provision of one last-resort bed generates a net benefit of $10,800 a year.

The findings reinforce the importance of government funding for homelessness support and expose the damage done by Malcolm Turnbull’s cuts.

The Coalition has cut $44 million a year in capital and development funding for emergency and crisis accommodation, starting in its disastrous 2014-15 Budget. The cuts have remained in place in the subsequent Budgets, causing a shortfall of $132 million for homelessness support.

The cuts were made to Labor’s Development Fund which was targeting emergency and crisis accommodation for women and children experiencing domestic and family violence, young people exiting out-of-home care and chronic rough sleepers.

At the last Census, there were 105,000 people identified as homeless and over 5,000 people were sleeping rough every night. These numbers have grown over the past five years.

If the 5,000 rough sleepers identified in the 2011 Census could be accommodated in safe accommodation, the net benefit to the community would be $54 million a year.

The report finds that the construction of new, permanent last resort accommodation stock makes economic sense, existing accommodation should be protected and maintained and that all levels of government must be engaged.

The report also finds that homelessness in central Melbourne has reached “emergency levels”, homelessness is growing across the metropolitan area and the same pattern is emerging around the country. As a result, welfare agencies are no longer able to meet the surging demand for accommodation.

The increasing shortage of social and affordable housing for people on low incomes is acting to limit the ability of homeless people already in last resort accommodation to transition into more stable, low cost housing.

The Turnbull Government has been a disaster for people experiencing homelessness, for low income households struggling with shortages of affordable housing, and for first home buyers locked out of housing markets due to competition from investors armed with generous tax breaks.

On every level of housing and homelessness policy, the Abbott and Turnbull years have been wasted years.

THURSDAY, 16 MARCH 2017