Government shows "blatant neglect" to end homelessness

As well as the criticism the government copped for not addressing the housing market in its 2019-2020 budget, it is also being accused of “blatantly” neglecting the needs of thousands of Australians experiencing homelessness and rental stress.

In 2017, the federal budget’s initiative to establish the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation acknowledged the Commonwealth’s critical role in boosting affordable housing; however, without additional investments, more people across Australia will be pushed into homelessness, according to Mission Australia CEO James Toomey.

“Australia’s housing system remains broken and in urgent need of repair and investment. A safe, secure home provides the foundation from which Australians can access work, education, healthcare and connect with their communities,” Toomey said

“Sadly, the radio silence on the housing and homelessness front in this year’s budget shows the Government is failing to address what is sorely needed.”

According to Toomey, Australia urgently needs a commitment to at least 500,000 new social and affordable dwellings by 2030 to keep thousands of people and families who can’t afford private rent from being “pushed into precarious and unsafe living situations.”    

Mission Australia strongly advocates for a national plan to end homelessness and to form a long-term investment strategy to address the critical lack of social and affordable homes and to better provide rent assistance for those earning the lowest incomes.

“The Federal Budget was also a wasted opportunity to provide increased rent assistance for those of us who rent, to make homes more affordable, accessible and permanent,” Toomey added.

With homelessness on the rise and over 116,000 Australians having no safe, secure place to call home, the country can’t wait another year for vital investments in social infrastructure to come in, he said. For Toomey, homelessness and rental stress should be “tackled as a priority while the budget is in surplus”.

“The essential social infrastructure of housing has been ignored, despite a boost in infrastructure spending,” he said.

“This is a national responsibility and a good budget must prioritise ensuring that everyone has a safe, secure place to call home.”