COVID-19: Give homeless rough sleepers safe shelter during the coronavirus outbreak now

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People who end up homeless do so for lots of different reasons, domestic violence, financial instability, mental health issues and many more reasons.

Everyone needs a safe place to stay, regardless if they are escaping domestic violence or already living on the street.

We demand that the Federal, State and territories and local councils immediately  use emergency powers to provide shelter from the emerging outbreak of coronavirus COVID-19 for those who are experiencing homelessness and are rough sleepers.

Rough sleepers often have health issues which generally places an increased demand on hospital resources.

As rough sleepers are exposed to the elements and community more than others who have a home they are at a higher risk of contracting the virus.
Furthermore rough sleepers often transit to services for meals and amenities which can lead to an increased risk of spreading the virus through public transport etc.
We demand that everyone who is a rough sleeper be given the option for a place to stay for at least the duration of the epidemic.

It's essential that people remain close to where they usually stay as people can still be able to access their support services.

Elderly and disabled rough sleepers can be given a hotel with room service and people who are able can be placed in a self managed dwelling.
Motels, hotels and other dwellings can be utilised though emergency powers.

The coronavirus is said to be more infectious in colder temperatures and as the weather starts heading to winter, we need to ensure people have a safe place to stay to minimise risks to health and keep the health system functional.

It should also be noted that not all homeless people receive a welfare payment and those who do are often faced with a choice between overpriced accommodation or being able to purchase food and other essential items.
As such we believe the government has the power to provide tax breaks and saving on costs through bulk purchasing and can provide accommodation for free or heavily subsidised rates so those who do get payments can continue to stimulate the retail economy with the little money they have.

Visible homeless in the city areas is only a small fraction of the overall homeless population, people live in parks in urban and rural areas, there are people living in cars, the response must not be about moving people out of the city so it's someone else's problem, everyone everywhere needs to be considered as part of our community response to this medical crisis.

Please act on this petition before the system becomes overwhelmed.