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Temporary visa holders and homelessness forum: findings

Homelessness NSW held a successful forum to mark International Women’s Day on the topic of ‘COVID-19 and barriers to access: temporary visa holders and homelessness’. Approximately 70 people attended across the sector.

The speakers included two inspiring people with lived expertise of homelessness holding a temporary visa, Nemat Kharboutli, Strategic Support Manager at Muslim Women Australia, Jane Brock, Executive Officer at Immigrant Women’s Speakout, and Feiyi Zhang, Senior Policy Officer at Homelessness NSW.

Key Findings

· SHSs face complexity and challenges supporting CALD people holding temporary visas. This complexity and need increased during COVID-19.

· SHSs work in the ‘periphery’ to assist temporary visa holders due to their exclusion from mainstream assistance.

· Income is one of the biggest barriers to assisting temporary visa holders, due to the inability to access financial and social welfare support, but multiple barriers also include access to childcare subsidies, legal and migrant rights, and housing support.

· There is an intersection between the issues of homelessness and domestic and family violence which could be resolved with access to support e.g. access to Safe at Home Program, social welfare entitlements and temporary housing support.

· The barriers to access creates developmental trauma for children, including Australian citizens that are children of temporary visa holders.

· Homelessness is especially hidden in CALD and temporary visa holder communities as women stay in overcrowded or unstable accommodation rather than sleeping rough.

· There is a critical, urgent need for federal reform to address barriers to access for temporary visa holders to prevent further trauma, and an importance to the work of federal advocacy groups such as Harmony Alliance, a national alliance of migrant and refugee women’s organisations.

Request documents and Questions
To access a recording of the meeting or Power Points slides contact: feiyi@homelessnessnsw.org.au

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Open Letter from Western Sydney organisations urging the extension of ‘WestInvest’ to social and affordable housing

October 12, 2021

Organisations in Western Sydney have signed an open letter urging the Premier to extend ‘WestInvest’ to social and affordable housing. Because what has been highlighted during the lockdown is the essential need for all in Western Sydney to have access to a safe, affordable and appropriate home. We call on the NSW government to: 1. Acquire existing social and affordable housing stock to meet the immediate need in the community, including the public health needs of COVID-19. 2. Commit an additional $500 million to repair existing social housing stock. 3. Deliver at least 5,000 additional social housing dwellings per year for the next 10 years. Reduce all types of homelessness by committing to a fully funded state-wide action plan, with the goal of ending homelessness in NSW by 2030.

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