Urgent call to fill $73m gap in homelessness funding

Funding gap endangers 700 support jobs within the homelessness sector

Urgent call to fill $73m gap in homelessness funding


By Mina Martin

Homelessness advocates and unions have launched a unified call to action, urging an immediate resolution to the looming $73 million funding shortfall that endangers the continuation of 700 critical support jobs within the homelessness sector.

The crisis in homelessness services is intensifying, with facilities overwhelmed by unprecedented demand amidst Australia’s most severe housing crisis to date.

Current statistics are stark, with services having to deny assistance to 295 people daily due to inadequate resources. Alarmingly, recent data analysis from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare indicated a 20% increase in the number of children experiencing homelessness, even after seeking help.

Homelessness Australia has identified the need for an additional $450m to adequately address the burgeoning demand for homelessness support services.

However, the sector is facing imminent funding cuts, with a significant gap arising from the upcoming expiration of funds allocated to cover the Equal Remuneration Order (ERO) costs. The funding allocation will expire in June.

The joint letter to ministers highlighted the dire consequences of not bridging the $73m funding gap, predicting a drastic reduction in service capacity and the loss of over 700 jobs, further exacerbating the strain on an already stretched homelessness system.

Kate Colvin (pictured above), CEO of Homelessness Australia, said the funding uncertainty is severely disrupting Australia’s response to the homelessness crisis.

“The reality on the ground is heartbreaking,” Colvin said in a media release. “Every day, families and children are left without a roof over their heads, sleeping in cars or worse. This is not just a funding issue. It’s a human crisis that demands compassion and commitment.”

A recent survey of 252 frontline homelessness support workers revealed the profound emotional toll exacted by the necessity of turning needy people away, with a significant majority reporting the highest levels of emotional impact and expressing concern over the potential repercussions of funding cuts on service delivery.

“Workers in this sector are confronted by extremely difficult choices already, like picking between a mother and child fleeing violence or a teenager without a home,” Colvin said. “The last thing they need is uncertainty about their job or that of their colleague.”

The Housing and Homelessness Ministerial Council recently started discussions on securing homelessness funding for the upcoming five-year period starting in July.

Signatories to the letter, including Homelessness Australia, the Australian Services Union, Community Housing Industry Association, National Shelter, and ACOSS, urged for an immediate assurance that funding would not be reduced. They also called for strategies to enhance service capacity to address the needs of Australians experiencing homelessness.

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