Homelessness / housing stress
- Created on Thursday, 01 June 2017 02:56
For a long time now the ASU has been hearing from our members in homelessness and housing services about the two biggest concerns facing them; the lack of long-term funding leading to less secure working arrangements, and the pressure their services (and by extension they) are feeling due to increasingly unaffordable housing, which has seen the demand for services skyrocket and the cost of providing those services increase along with it.
The 2017 Federal budget does provide what appears to be greater security around long-term funding, with the two existing Council of Australian Governments agreements, the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness (NPAH) and the National Affordable Housing Agreement (NAHA), being rolled together to form the National Housing and Homelessness Agreement (NHHA).
Commitments within the 2017 budget around funding of the NHHA extend well beyond those of the former agreements, and include annual indexation of funding amounts. We expect to see this increase in funding certainty flow on to the service providers and enable them to provide greater job security to our members in their workplaces. This is something the ASU welcomes and will be working with service providers to ensure the benefits for our members come to fruition.
The other concern that of housing affordability, received what could only be described as lip-service compared to the drastic overhaul necessary if we are to see any significant improvement in the short-to-medium term within the housing market. This impact on the outcomes our members working in homelessness and housing services can provide, and directly affects the demands on them at their workplace.
With only a couple of ideas that at best tinker around the edges of housing affordability, and no attention given to reforming the big ticket items like negative gearing and capital gains tax concessions, combined with a stagnation of assistance for people struggling to pay their rent, we can only expect more people to become reliant on homelessness services as a result. We also can’t see how those already reliant will exit the homelessness support system.
This is not sustainable. It will take a lot more than annual indexation on homelessness service funding to reduce the strain and provide support to those who will need it.
If you wish to discuss this further, or want to arrange for the ASU to visit your workplace, please contact ASU Organiser Luke Cherry on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0417 472 497.