Putting homelessness on the agenda in 2014

Supporters of the St Vincent de Paul Society may be interested to note the editorial committee behind The Record has implemented a few changes to the publication this year. In addition to providing articles and photos about Society news in Australia, each edition of The Record in 2014 will now be dedicated to a contemporary social justice theme, beginning with homelessness.

Leading Australian community sector advocates were approached to contribute an article on the key issues affecting people experiencing homelessness and to share the findings of recent research or projects
they are working on. The resulting articles, from Sacred Heart Mission, Homelessness Australia and people assisted by the St Vincent de Paul Society, provide high-level insight into homelessness, the people affected and what is being done to combat the problem.

And there has been much to write about with the Coalition Government due to hand down its first Federal Budget on May 13th and indications that the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS) may be one of the programs targeted for severe cutbacks.

The announcement on March 29, 2014 of a one-year extension to the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness (NPAH) between the federal and state governments has provided some assurance that funding for homelessness services will continue in the short term. However, the St Vincent de Paul Society was greatly concerned by the cuts to capital works funding in the new look NPAH and will continue to advocate for a long term funding agreement on homelessness to be developed. With more than 105,000 people in Australia affected by homelessness and one in 200 people homeless on any given night Chief Executive Dr John Falzon says “…it is homelessness itself that we must cut, not the spending on homelessness.”

This year, The Record will also feature more profiles and reflections from the Society’s National Council members. In this issue, readers can learn how Northern Territory President, Gerry McCormack, came to be involved in the Society in two states and what Tasmanian State President, Vin Hindmarsh, has learnt about the complex relationship between trauma and homelessness, through his involvement with Bethlehem House in Hobart.