Demand for homelessness and housing services on the rise – report

A charity reveals how homelessness can be eradicated

Demand for homelessness and housing services on the rise – report


By Mina Martin

Mission Australia has reported a growing demand for the charity’s homelessness and housing services, sparking calls for urgent action to end Australia’s homelessness and housing emergency. 

The Christian homelessness charity’s latest report, A Safe Place to Call Home – Mission Australia’s Homelessness and Stable Housing Impact Report 2023, revealed a 26% rise in demand for the Mission Australia’s homelessness services over the past three years, and a 50% increase in people who were seeking help after they’ve become homeless rather than when they were at risk.

“Our frontline staff are seeing an influx of people seeking help from our homelessness services, and they’re telling us the housing situation is the worst they’ve ever seen it,” said Sharon Callister, Mission Australia’s CEO. “Australia needs to be doing so much more to be on the front foot to prevent and end homelessness in our country, instead of band-aid crisis solutions.”

Homelessness can be ended if the right support, services, and housing are in place and if there is a focus on prevention, the report suggested. Of the people who got support from Mission Australia’s services before they became homeless, 94% were able to avoid homelessness and remain living in their home.

The help provided by Mission Australia’s services enabled 81% of people to improve their wellbeing, while 89% made progress with their goals, such as education and employment. 

The longer Mission Australia’s staff were able to provide support to homeless people, the more likely those people were to exit homelessness. But finding long-term housing for homeless people has proven to be extremely tough due to the lack of affordable housing, with Mission Australia and other homelessness services only able to find a secure long-term home for 31% of people experiencing homelessness. 

Recent AIHW figures showed that on average, 300 requests for help are turned away every day from homelessness services across the country – mainly due to the lack of accommodation available.

In response to the findings, Mission Australia is calling on governments to invest more in homelessness prevention and support services, as well as in 1 million new social and affordable homes.

“Without a significant boost of social and affordable housing across the country, homelessness cannot be eradicated,” Callister said. “Mission Australia is calling on governments for greater investment to build the one million new social and affordable homes that will be needed over the next 20 years to ensure that everyone who seeks help is connected to a safe place to call home.

“We also need far more investment in homelessness services, particularly those focused on prevention, and to extend the length of service contracts. This would enable our incredibly compassionate and skilled frontline staff to meet the increasing demand and help everyone who needs it.” 

What do you think can end homelessness? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below. 

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