"There but for the grace of God go I" - it's time to end homelessness in Australia
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116,427 Australians were homeless on Census night in 2016, and in the last year over 288,000 people needed homelessness support services. Children, women and men are forced to sleep in crisis accommodation, in cars, in the streets.
But today we still have no national plan to end homelessness. We have no targets to end it. We have no timelines to end it. We have no policies to end it. We have no political will to end it. And we have no accountability for those who have the power to end it.
This is a local issue, a state issue, and a federal issue - it is a crisis that requires all of us to come together. We need a collective effort to guarantee every person's human right to safe housing - a right that we as a nation committed to almost 70 years ago when we signed the Declaration of Human Rights.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said that when he sees someone living on the street, he always thinks “there but for the grace of God go I”.
But that's not enough - the graces of God will not end this crisis.
We need good people working together to make it happen. We need good policies to make it happen. We need politicians listening to the people to make it happen. We need timelines to make it happen. And we need targets to make it happen. Not 30%, not 50%, not 70% - our target must be 100%, because anything less means we're abandoning people before we even start.
It's time for a national plan to end homelessness.
We call on Malcolm Turnbull, Bill Shorten and all parliaments in Australia to come together and make it happen.
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