Three measures in the Budget to support growing numbers of homeless

Jack de Groot, CEO St Vincent de Paul Society NSW, is hoping tomorrow’s Budget will address three key issues to reduce the growing number of individuals and families facing homelessness:

  • Adequate funding for Specialist Homelessness Services (SHS), which provide an essential emergency response to homelessness.
  • Increase the Low Income Household Rebate to help eligible NSW households pay their electricity bills.
  • Freeze the Opal concession card holder price.

“The long term solution to the housing shortage we are experiencing is investment in more affordable and social housing,” said Mr de Groot.

“Considerable investment is needed to reduce the social housing wait list, which exceeds over 60,000 applicants.  The NSW Department of Family and Community Services estimated that an additional 25,000 social housing properties over 10 years would be required to meet the needs of the current applicants.

“The adequate provision of housing is at the foundation of a just society. Without the risk of homelessness, there would be less need for charities like Vinnies to pick up the pieces of fractured lives.”

Vinnies has selected three areas where Budget funding allocation would alleviate some of the hardship facing people who experience or are on the brink of poverty.

“NSW Family and Community Services funds community organisations to ensure people at risk of, or experiencing, homelessness can access support locally. A significant increase in funding into SHS and early intervention and prevention services would enable us to keep people in their homes, and restore their wellbeing, dignity and sense of belonging,” said Mr de Groot.

“We are also calling for an increase in the Low Income Household Rebate to help eligible NSW households pay their spiralling electricity bills. As well, the Government must guarantee the provision of electricity, an essential service that underpins our community’s basic health and wellbeing.

“An affordable, sustainable and extensive public transport system must be guaranteed. We’d like to see an Opal concession card holder price freeze. In July Sydney public transport users face a 2.4 per cent increase in Opal fares. We hope the Government will be excluding concession card holders from this increase.

“We have observed how the right to invest in property has taken precedence over the primary human right to a home. Housing has become an asset for individuals to make the best return on their investment. Rather, governments need to shift their thinking: a home should be valued as the place to meet our needs for shelter, safety and dignity.

“At the Vinnies CEO Sleepout on Thursday this week prominent CEOs will learn more about what they can do as community leaders to rise to the challenge facing us all.”
 

Media contact:  Phyllis Sakinofsky | phyllis.sakinofsky@vinnies.org.au | 0417 446 430