Homelessness service providers are under immense strain from the toughest year on record, as a new survey reveals unrelenting demand due to the housing and cost of living crises.
According to a survey of 252 workers across frontline and support functions:
More than 35 per cent of respondents gave a maximum score of ten when asked how often they had to turn away individuals seeking help due to the housing crisis. A combined total of 78 per cent scored five or above. And 93 per cent said the problem had worsened in the last year.
When asked how often they had to provide less support than was needed because of demand pressures, 37 per cent gave a maximum score of ten and combined total of 86 per cent rated this as five or higher, while 93 per cent said the problem was worse than last year
A staggering 56 per cent of respondents rated the emotional toll of having to turn people away or provide less support than needed at a maximum score of ten.
The same proportion (56 per cent) also scored 10 for increased workload due to the housing crisis.
More than half of all respondents rated the government's current policies and measures to address homelessness amid the housing crisis at between one and three out of ten.
An overwhelming majority (84%) scored 10 when asked about the impact of $70 million worth of potential cuts to the sector proceeding.
"Homelessness providers are expected to work miracles. But the strain is simply unrelenting,” said Kate Colvin, chief executive of Homelessness Australia. “Funding, which is already uncertain, is plateauing while demand surges. The status quo is just unsustainable.
“Homelessness providers are being forced to make extremely difficult choices. If they’re approached by a mother and child fleeing violence and a teenager escaping abuse they need to decide whose predicament is worse. Often if someone has a car they can sleep in then they won’t get accommodation.
“People working in our sector are confronted by trauma and are taking that home with them. They deserve support and certainty.”
The Federal Government is currently crafting a National Housing and Homelessness Plan. Homelessness Australia believes that with the right support and commitment homelessness can end within a decade. “A substantial investment in social housing, sustained focus on the causes of homelessness, and a significant funding boost for support services can end homelessness.
“The Government must also end the immediate uncertainty around $73 million in funding to cover the wages of the workforce. This funding expires in June 2024. The last thing anyone needs in a housing crisis is a cut to homelessness support.”
To arrange interview call Matt Coughlan 0400 561 480