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The number of Australians living on the streets will be halved in the next 12 years, Prime Minister has asserted recently.

Launching the Government’s White Paper on Homelessness, “The Road Home”, Mr Rudd outlined the Federal Government’s plans for reducing homelessness in Australia by 2020, with specific goals to cut homelessness by half and provide accommodation to all rough sleepers who require it.

There are currently 105,000 homeless people in Australia, of whom approximately 16,000 are sleeping rough.

The White Paper allows for a significant injection of federal money, providing an additional $1.2 billion over four years, or a 55% increase in investment in homelessness.

It includes a commitment of $800 million over the next four years for new support services for homeless people and $400 million over the next two financial years for social housing, to house the homelessness.

The reforms aim to:

  • Help up to 9,000 more young people to remain connected with their families;
  • Help up to 2,250 more families at risk of homelessness to stay housed;
  • Provide day to day support to an extra 1,000 adults with mental illness;
  • Build up to 2,700 additional public and community houses for low income households who are at risk of homelessness;
  • Build up to 4,200 new houses and upgrade up to 4,800 existing houses in remote Indigenous communities;
  • Allocate aged care places and capital funds for at least 1 new specialist facility for older homeless people every year for the next four years.

Simon Turner

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The Federal Government will invest $150 million over five years with the aim of halving the number of homeless people turned away from homeless shelters.

A Place to Call Home is Federal Labor’s five year plan to establish up to 600 new houses and units across the country for families and individuals who are homeless.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare said in 2005-06 there were 3,383 requests for emergency accommodation (4.4 per cent of the total requests for emergency accommodation) that could not be met.

Federal Labor’s aim is to halve the number of homeless people turned away from shelters each year within five years and close the gap within a decade in an effort to ensure those who are homeless have shelter.

100,000 Australians find themselves homeless on any night. Of these, nearly half are under 24 years of age and 10,000 are children aged twelve or younger.

While the services funded to assist the homeless do their best – they accommodate more than 12,000 at any one time in around 7,500 shelters, units and houses – this is not enough to meet demand.

At Mission Australia’s Women’s Place Service, 56 per cent of the single adult women who seek accommodation are turned away.

In a nation that has experienced 16 consecutive years of economic growth, this is simply not acceptable.

For this reason Marquette Turner wholly supports any initiative that improves the lot of those experiencing difficulties.

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