Inquiry into homelessness in Australia
In February 2020, the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs commenced an inquiry into Homelessness in Australia.
As one of the largest providers of homelessness services across Australia, The Salvation Army believes that having safe, secure and affordable housing is a human right. Without a home, a person's ability to access and maintain employment, education, training, health and wellbeing, and family and social networks can be very difficult, and often impossible, further exacerbating the situation.
There are over 116,000 people in Australia who are homeless. They sleep on the street, in cars, in shelters, and in overcrowded dwellings. They live in every jurisdiction in Australia. There are many misconceptions about what cause homelessness. Our submission highlights that homelessness in Australia is the result of systemic and structural failures that disproportionately affect disadvantaged people.
We believe that homelessness in Australia can be fixed.
We recommend the development and implementation of a National Homelessness and Housing Strategy, which commits to the eradication of homelessness and clear targets to achieve this goal. Our submission maintains the urgent call for national leadership to respond to homelessness in Australia, which must include a total commitment to ensure adequate supply of social and affordable housing.
Given the current economic context and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, we believe the government should take all necessary measures to avoid an escalation of homelessness. We maintain that these measures should include the permanent increase of income support payments and a partnership between federal, state and territory governments to protect the most vulnerable.
The Committee released an interim report in October 2020, which referenced the long-term solutions and lived experience The Salvation Army submission brought to the Committee inquiry.
The Committee is yet to release the final report on the inquiry.