[Hpn] 'Affordable housing needed' for homeless
William Charles Tinker
Thu, 24 Aug 2006 18:28:34 -0400
'Affordable housing needed' for homeless
August 25, 2006
ALMOST 70,000 children, the majority under four years old, needed crisis
accommodation in a single year, a new reports shows.
The startling statistic is contained in the latest snapshot of homelessness
And the nation's peak welfare body says it proves that more needs to be done
to provide affordable housing.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report, released today, shows
that more than 150,000 Australians accessed crisis accommodation across the
country in 2004-05.
More than 40 per cent were children, and most of them were very young -
babies and toddlers under four years old.
"The fact that (so many) people are homeless in good economic times also
points to the need to do more to make sure all Australians can find
accessible, affordable and safe housing," Australian Council of Social
Service (ACOSS) director Andrew Johnson said.
Mr Johnson said a further two million Australians were struggling to make
their budget each week.
"Some of these are just a few bills or a family crisis away from being
homeless themselves," he said.
Report author Felicity Murdoch said one in every 51 Australian children aged
four or under had spent a night in crisis accommodation in 2004-05.
Support for those children, whether accompanied by a guardian or not, was
met almost all of the time.
"The vast majority, 94 per cent, of services requested for accompanied
children were able to be provided directly," Ms Murdoch said.
However, crisis centres were still struggling to provide some services like
counselling, the report said.
Ms Murdoch said many of the children arrived at crisis centres with their
"They are women and children escaping domestic violence," she said.
For teenagers turning up at the door of crisis accommodation, the major
cause of their problems is family breakdown, the report said.
About 90 per cent of the 12 to 17 year olds in need of accommodation had
their needs met by the Supported Accommodation Assistance Program, Ms
Mr Johnson said it was important the Government aimed to meet the emergency
needs of all people.
"ACOSS and its members support increases to programs like the Supported
Accommodation Assistance Program to make sure those who need homelessness
services can get them whether they be on city streets or in rural and remote
areas," he said.