More houses for people
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Every day hundreds of people with nowhere to live come to homelessness services for help, and workers can’t offer them safe and affordable accommodation.
I’ve worked in homelessness for 25 years and I see how devastating this is for people who are desperate for help, and how heartbreaking for the workers.
I wanted to tell you about it because I think often people don’t realise how dire the situation is.
Just one service in our area has 30 people queued outside before 9am every morning. Many are women with little kids with them; some are under 18 themselves and fleeing unsafe homes.
This service doesn’t have enough capacity to give each of the 30 an appointment, let alone those who come later in the day.
Some of those who do get an appointment will be put up in temporary accommodation in cheap hotels, caravan parks or rooming houses. Sometimes these places aren’t safe, but there is nowhere else. We often can’t find someone a place near to their kid’s schools, or their doctors or supports.
It can take months on a wait list to get a support worker.
Parents can travel long distances on public transport with five children to wait in the cold before 9am, only to find that we can’t get them into housing they can afford. Instead they live in their cars or someone’s garage.
Young people couch surf or live on the streets because there is nowhere to go that they can afford. Women and children are staying in situations of family violence because they can’t get other affordable housing away from the violence. In Melbourne's north and west we have a list of 4,000 households (which include 4,400 children) waiting for emergency accommodation.
When we can get someone into the few community or public housing properties that become available we see how it transforms their lives.
We urgently need more houses for people so workers can help people find an affordable home, not put them in a rooming house.
That’s why we have created the "more houses for people" campaign. Everyone should have safe, warm and affordable homes to live in. The Northern and Western Homelessness Networks, that I am part of, are proud to have worked with people experiencing homelessness in the design of this campaign. The least we can do is be able to tell those who come to us for assistance that it is not OK that they don’t have somewhere to live and that we are trying to do something about it.
The Government also needs a plan to end homelessness. Housing is part of this, but so is support, so people can quickly get the help they need, and we can do more work to prevent people losing their home.
Can you join us in calling on our political leaders to urgently create more affordable housing?
So far this election Labor and the Greens have released affordable housing and homelessness platforms, but there isn’t yet a Coalition platform. This isn’t good enough while so many thousands of Australians have no home.
Please sign and tell the Prime Minister how important it is to take action.
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