Uniting Communities is deeply disturbed by media reports today suggesting that the Prime Minister has announced that the National Affordable Housing Agreement (NAHA) will end on 30th June this year.
The NAHA currently delivers $1.3 billion p.a. funding to public housing and homelessness programs, equivalent to $6.8 billion over the next 5-year budget period.
As well as funding public housing, the NAHA delivers $275 million to homelessness agencies, nationally, to enable them to support women and children, young people and rough sleepers. Last year 279,000 Australians sought assistance from homelessness services.
“It is reprehensible for any government to walk away from providing support to the most vulnerable people in our community, we are urging the Prime Minister to reject any plans to cut funding for homelessness support services.” said Simon Schrapel, Uniting Communities Chief Executive.
One of the Uniting Communities services for homeless people is the Homelessness Gateway Service that is available 24 hours per day to help people who are seeking emergency accommodation. Nearly 3,000 women and about 1,000 young people contacted this service last year, an average of 80 vulnerable people needing help with crisis accommodation every week. Uniting Communities is acutely aware of the difficulty many people are having in finding even basic shelter at the moment.
“Removing support from a service area already under siege would be a disaster,” confirmed Mr Schrapel. “It is unreasonable to consider that the poorest people in our community should bear the burden of government budget repair.
Mr Schrapel said that Uniting Communities is calling on the Commonwealth and State governments to get serious about the homelessness crisis that is looming and to sit down with the service providers to thrash out a workable solution. “Slashing funding is not an acceptable response to the tragedy of homelessness,” Mr Schrapel concluded.
For media comment:
Simon Schrapel, Chief Executive
0411 643 132
Mark Henley, Manager Advocacy and Communication
0404 067 011