Australia

Nov 15, 2012

Are we really failing the homeless? Crunching the new data

News that homelessness has increased appears to show the government is failing on the issue. But as Crikey intern Sally Whyte discovers, that's not the whole story.

Fresh data appears to show the federal government’s promise to halve homelessness by 2020 is failing: the number of homeless people has increased by 8% over the last five years.

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5 thoughts on “Are we really failing the homeless? Crunching the new data

  1. CML

    I live in SA. What hope do the homeless people have when governments do such stupid things. A few weeks ago, the SA government announced a grant of $8,500 dollars for ANYONE who wantd to build a NEW home. There does not appear to be a means test on this policy, and apparently it also applies to investor purchased new homes (as opposed to owner-occupied ones). The only caveat is that the home must be worth under $500,000 dollars. I think these details are correct, but am open to comment if not.
    For heaven sake, why wasn’t this money put into public housing for those people who could never afford to build their own home, no matter what the cost? All this does is further enhance the riches of those few who can afford to invest in housing for rental. And we all know how affordable private rental properties are when you are on a pension or low income! Blo+dy crazy!
    The reason given by the government for this grant, was to bolster the construction industry, which is in dire straits here. It doesn’t seem to have occurred to them that the houses would still be built, no matter which sector (private or public) if they supply the money. At least the poor/homeless would have half a chance of a roof over their heads if there was more public housing.

  2. michael crook

    At a time when the states are reneging on their commitments or duckshoving costs to the Federal Government homelessness can only increase. As one of the 550 census collectors doing the homeless census, I found it very difficult to track down homeless persons that I actually knew , from my own previous association with local community centres, were there. Also a lot of the car sleepers, did not want to take part.

  3. Bill

    Without denying that homelessness is a real problem, it may not be the case that homelessness has increased by 8%. The data collection methodology has changed significantly, so it is not really useful to compare the raw numbers.

  4. The Old Bill

    Not only does the SA government give away money to people for investment properties, but they are selling off their Trust housing stocks as fast as possible without replacing them. Soon there will be no housing except that available from private sources. At least it’s good weather here at the moment

  5. Leo Braun

    To the attention Minister for Housing, Tim Mander!

    The Concept of ‘Home’ is of Growing Importance in the Law!

    For the majority, “home is a lot more than shelter. Home is a place of security, belonging and comfort”, Justice Bell said. Forced eviction of vulnerable people raises profoundly important social, ethical and legal issues. Such people are very vulnerable and their human rights are imperilled by their circumstances!

    Hence in a nutshell, Justice Bell believes that current state laws do not adequately protect the security of tenure for public housing tenants, who can be evicted without reason or cause. During 18-09-12 lecture at Monash University, Faculty of Law, Justice Kevin Bell of the Victorian Supreme Court focused precisely on such a lack of protection from forced eviction of people living in public housing.

    No wonder smart state Dept of Housing offloaded touchy stock to community housing companies. Whatever it takes to outsource our elementary needs of existence. Just as deregulated banks borrowed recklessly to finance speculative bubble. Ballooned as feds abolished death duty and halved the capital gains tax. Along the frenzy feeding via negative gearing with tax deductibility of the interest against all the income.

    No wonder for rental market’s inflation!

    To offset which, public housing ought to represent at least 6% of the total housing stock. Because public housing underpins an entire housing system, beside the rendered an anti-inflationary benefit to the economy in the lucky country. Where life vital necessities should have never turned into the lucrative commodities. Yet astonishingly Aussie taxpayers in fact subsidised feds endorsed gainful galore (to please the insatiable capitalists) to the detriment duped citizens.

    What hope do the homeless and low income battlers have, when the Newman Government reintroduced stamp duty concessions in Queensland for repeat home purchasers, costing the state budget over $250 million in lost revenue. Then having chutzpah to siphon $5 million from the Tenant Advice and Advocacy Program. Hell bent to annihilate any systemic advocacy (offered by the Tenants’ Union of Queensland) for the helpless tenants.

    Claiming: “this money was needed to fund social housing programs”, although celebrating “RIVERFIRE” extravaganza at the taxpayers expense! Followed by the review of tenancy law and social housing entitlements. Culminating in rent hike, cut tenancy agreements length and tackled under-occupancy issues (out of sight pesky media).

    It is hard not to see the funding withdrawal as anything but a way to silence tenants advocacy groups. Ironically, Director General Natalie McDonald insisted in the Tenant News Feb 2005: “Dept of Housing will continue to reinvest in quality housing outcomes and assist as many Queenslanders as possible to enjoy the security and equity, public housing offers”!

    Speaking of which, having initially moved to the Public Housing after signing Residential Tenancy Agreement (0010139532) on 19-08-98. Signed jointly with my defacto partner. Yet short lived euphoria dissipated as blacklisted on unemployables heap — faced moreover tribulations as a result of the hijacked father in Poland. Thus compelled to venture abroad in Aug 2000. Whereas on my return in Sept 2001, I contemplated moving to Melbourne.

    Though interim having rented a room in Annie Street. However relocation idea didn’t come to fruition, so I applied for the public housing on 27-09-02. Subsequently, I was uprooted in 2006, from the Warry Street domicile due to the site redevelopment. So at that stage having had a major chat with my ex partner apropos allowing me to lodge in her place, for the time being.

    Once received consent, especially Centrelink’s on 12-04-06, Dept of Housing started charging rent on 24-04-06. Only to dump me from the queue on 25-08-08, because I had a roof overhead, while awaiting for public housing. Then terror came as Dr Flegg’s Policy Advisor insinuated on 14-11-12 (Ref COM 12597-2012) that since a couple was entitled to occupy one bedroom unit, Dept of Housing cast-out living arrangement of separated under one roof.

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