Official estimates claim over 2000 people a year find themselves homeless on the Central Coast. Many more are on a knife-edge as affordable housing options shrink. Central Coast Greens share the concerns of many community groups that there are not enough services to help all the people who need it, and not enough being invested in preventing the problem in the first place. The Australian Greens have announced a plan to double federal funding to front-line homelessness services for the next 10 years, by using a portion of the revenue raised through changes to negative gearing and the capital gains tax exemption.
About 1 in every 200 Australians are homeless. More than a quarter of our homeless population are children under the age of 18, with 17% being under 12. Forty-five percent of young people who end up homeless are fleeing domestic violence or family breakdown.
Since 2011, homelessness has increased by 17% and the demand for services has surged. Across Australia there are almost 1,500 agencies that provide specialist services to people experiencing homelessness or who are at risk of becoming homeless. However, the services are overstretched and underfunded – 329 requests for services go unassisted every day, and just 6% of people seeking permanent accommodation are housed.
The Greens plan will deliver $1.1billion each year for the next ten years to meet this surging demand from people experiencing homelessness.
Greens leader Richard Di Natale said many services were driven to the brink of closure last year when the Abbott Government refused to provide funding certainty under the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness. “It beggars belief that this cruel Liberal government continues to prop up the rich end of town with tax cuts and subsidies, but when it comes to the essential human right of a safe place to sleep each night, they turn their backs,” he said.
Hillary Morris, Greens candidate for Robertson, said “The Abbott-Turnbull Government cut millions of dollars in funding for homelessness and housing affordability programs in their first budget. They’ve refused to adopt any target or commitment to reduce homelessness. What exactly do they expect will happen if they fail to take any action on this issue – are they happy to simply turn their backs on these people?”
Greens candidate for Dobell, Abigail Boyd, said “We know that the rates of homelessness on the Coast are much higher than the numbers reported in the 2011 census. Youth homelessness, in particular, is notoriously invisible and undercounted – many are couch surfing and not trying to access services. We’re hearing that services are so overstretched that people are now assuming no help will be available. This problem won’t go away by itself – we need to tackle the issues leading to homelessness (particularly domestic violence) and provide proper funding for these services urgently.”
Abigail Boyd 0421 599 192
Hillary Morris 0424 079 442
CENTRAL COAST GREENS
MEDIA RELEASE 18 APRIL 2016