SYDNEY CITY HOMELESSNESS FIGURES JUST THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG

24 Feb 2017

The 433 people counted sleeping rough in the City of Sydney this week are just the tip of the iceberg.

THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY

SENATOR THE HON DOUG CAMERON
SHADOW MINISTER FOR HOUSING AND HOMELESSNESS

SHADOW MINISTER FOR SKILLS AND APPRENTICESHIPS
SENATOR FOR NEW SOUTH WALES 

SYDNEY CITY HOMELESSNESS FIGURES JUST THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG

The 433 people counted sleeping rough in the City of Sydney this week are just the tip of the iceberg.

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare nationwide data shows that 279,000 people received specialist homelessness services in 2015-16, and sixty percent of those were women.

While street counts are important and the City of Sydney is to be commended for theirs, homelessness is much more than rough-sleeping.

A great deal of homelessness is invisible, particularly among older women. Mercy Foundation research shows that the number of older women experiencing homelessness is rising, older women are less likely to sleep rough and less likely to seek help until they reach crisis point.

Demand for homelessness assistance is not being met, and homelessness service providers report turning away a third of all people who seek help.

These problems are being made worse by the Turnbull Government's terrible record on homelessness. The Coalition has cut $44m per year from the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness, scrapped the National Rental Affordability Scheme and is now threatening the National Affordable Housing Agreement, including $250 million of funding for homelessness services.

There is no single, correct answer to homelessness, but what is needed is a commitment from all levels of government to tackle a problem that has no place in a prosperous nation like ours.

FRIDAY, 24 FEBRUARY 2017