Homelessness NSW, the state peak for Specialist Homelessness Services, today welcomed the steps taken by the Berejiklian Government to address the risks for people experiencing and at risk of homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Katherine McKernan, CEO of Homelessness NSW, said “This crisis will affect us all, no matter who we are. But the better prepared we are to support those most at risk, the better the outcome for not only vulnerable people but also the health system and the broader community.”
NSW has the highest numbers of people sleeping rough, and people experiencing homelessness in Australia. This community is extremely vulnerable to impacts of COVID-19, as they are more likely to experience mental ill health or physical ill-health, including chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, asthma, kidney disease and much more.
“This government must have a laser-like focus on a safe, prepared and well-resourced homelessness sector, alongside housing for those who need it. There must be no delay.
“The funding announced today will enable the sector to really act to provide accommodation for those experiencing and at risk of homelessness who need it to stay healthy and well”
The announcement today of $34 million aims to act as a ‘boost to prevent homelessness’, alongside $10 million in support for charities, likely for OzHarvest and Foodbank, and $6 million for Lifeline’s operations in NSW.
“But for the government to get us through the worst, we also need to ensure frontline workers are safe, and have the appropriate advice and gear to stay safe and keep delivering services to our most vulnerable”.
“We need to see this government prepare for the next wave of vulnerability that has already begun as job loss grows. This means putting a moratorium on evictions, stopping rent increases, and resourcing services to support those who are already starting to appear on our streets.
Homelessness NSW is calling on government to:
October 19, 2021
Homelessness NSW is pleased to have worked with NCOSS, CHIA NSW and DV NSW on the Equity Economics report Rebuilding Women's Economic Security - Investing in Social Housing in NSW, which highlights the urgent need to invest in women’s economic security by building more social housing. The Report finds that the pandemic has worsened the housing insecurity of women in NSW with the number of people seeking specialist homelessness services who had experienced family and domestic violence increasing by 7.1 per cent in 2020-21, compared to a 3.2 per cent increase in demand for all specialist homelessness services and 4,812 women currently being forced to stay in an unsafe and violent home, or face homelessness - with up to 2,402 women returning to live with a violent partner because of lack of an affordable alternative, and a further 2,410 homeless because they could not find secure and permanent housing after leaving violence.