Policy & Politics |
Homelessness Australia

Over 200 community groups endorse open letter calling on PM to 'save' key homelessness programs from budget cuts


Leaders of 209 community groups release open letter calling on PM to ‘save’ key homelessness programs from budget cuts 

Leaders and CEOs of 209 different welfare organisations have signed on to an open letter calling on the Prime Minister to intervene urgently to ‘avert the human, economic and policy disaster that will occur if the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness (NPAH) is de-funded in 2017.’ 

Homelessness Australia and National Shelter have released the open letter to Prime Minister Turnbull this morning and re-issued their call for the Federal Government to end the prolonged uncertainty around the future of 180 frontline homelessness and family violence programs that could face closure if NPAH funding ends in 2017. 

The $115 million p.a. Federal funding provided under the NPAH is matched by state and territory Governments and represents one-third of all homelessness funding. 

Homelessness Australia Chairperson Jenny Smith said ‘the consequences for our community if the Federal Government cuts NPAH funding will set Australia back a decade in terms of efforts to reduce homelessness and keep women and children safe from harm. 

‘We would see more women and children unable to leave violent situations, more young people on the streets instead of in school and more people living out their lives without any real hope of having a safe roof over their head again.’ 

National Shelter Executive Officer Adrian Pisarski said ‘Extending the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness is a vital step in setting Australia back on a policy path towards increasing affordable housing and reducing homelessness. 

‘Services and housing providers are already at capacity and a loss of funding of this magnitude will result in big increases in the number of people turned away from help. We’re also seeing more people turn to homelessness services because there simply is not enough public housing,’ he said. 

Homelessness Australia and National Shelter have warned that a failure to address the future of the National Partnership on Homelessness before Christmas will leave services with no choice but to start preparing for the wind down of programs in the new year, which means reduced service capacity would be felt by the community well in advance of the cessation of funding in June. 

The signatory organisations have also called for the funding to be fully indexed to inflation to ensure. It is estimated that the homelessness sector has lost close to $10 million over the last three years due to a lack of funding indexation. 

Among the 200-plus organisations endorsing the open letter are ACOSS, Anglicare Australia, Australian Red Cross, Catholic Social Services Australia, Community Housing Industry Association, Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia, National Family Violence Prevention Legal Services, Mission Australia, National Youth Coalition for Housing, People with a Disability Australia, The Salvation Army, WESNET and the National Association of Community Legal Centres. 

More information: Lanie Harris, lanie@chp.org.au 0418 552 377