Poverty drives homelessness: Vinnies and Mission Australia

Anti-Poverty Week NSW Co-Chairs the St Vincent de Paul Society and Mission Australia are calling for a greater focus at both a State and national level on solving poverty and inequality to end homelessness.

This year’s Anti-Poverty Week falls from 14-20 October, and Mission Australia and the St Vincent de Paul Society are co-chairing events across New South Wales. Both call on decision-makers to act on key drivers of poverty in the State: housing affordability, low levels of income support payments, and the rising cost of living.

“In a wealthy State, in a wealthy nation, with a healthy economy, we should be getting close to solving the issue of homelessness,” said Vinnies New South Wales CEO, Jack de Groot. “But the truth is that the problem is getting worse.”

He continued: “In NSW, there’s been a 30% jump since 2011 in the number of people experiencing homelessness. And that’s just of the tip of the iceberg when you consider the hundreds of thousands at the brink of poverty thanks to impossible rents and ludicrous energy bills.

“Political leaders must come to the table with industry and non-profit organisations, right now, and galvanise real action– not just spruik empty election talk until March 2019.”

“We agree with Jack,” said Mission Australia’s State Leader, Tracy Wright. “The levels of poverty and homelessness across NSW and Australia are unacceptable. There are too many people struggling to pay the rent and put food on the table. This includes younger people, older people and families with children.

“But we know there are solutions. We encourage people to get involved in events taking place across the State this week as we work together to shed light on these issues and to take action to reduce poverty and address homelessness.

“Individuals as well as organisations can sign up to the Everybody’s Home and Raise the Rate campaigns and show their support for more affordable housing, a national plan to end homelessness and to raise the rate of income support so people are not left homeless and hungry.”

Held each year to coincide with International Day for the Eradication of Poverty on 17 October, Anti-Poverty Week in Australia aims to strengthen public understanding of the causes and consequences of poverty and hardship; and to encourage research, discussion and action to address these problems.

Facebook: @Antipovertyweeknsw

Twitter: @APW_NSW