Ending homelessness together

National Homelessness Week

National Homelessness Week (6th – 12th August) aims to raise community awareness of homelessness and the actions needed to address it.

This year the Week’s theme is “Ending homelessness together’’ and Australians are being urged to call on political leaders to deliver a national housing strategy that provides 500,000 social and affordable rental homes by 2026 (everybodyshome.com.au).

Right now, more than 116,000 Australians are homeless and 189,000 people are on social housing waiting lists. The main causes of homelessness are poverty, unaffordable rents and family violence.

Anglicare is part of a collaborative arrangement that manages Housing Connect in our state, where people apply for public and social housing or seek bond assistance for private rentals. Anglicare also provides crisis accommodation for young men in southern Tasmania, as well as long-term residential housing for people on low incomes and supported accommodation for young people. Our Social Action and Research Centre does an annual analysis of the rental market in the state and has conducted in-depth research into youth homelessness.

Anglicare CEO Chris Jones said a determined, collaborative and long-term effort was needed to address the current housing shortage. “Affordable, appropriate housing is foundational, influencing people’s health and wellbeing, as well as education and employment,” he said.

Anglicare is a leading voice in advocacy about highly vulnerable Tasmanian children who are homeless. This issue is the focus of a forum being hosted in Hobart soon by Anglicare, the Youth Network of Tasmania, the Tasmanian Commissioner for Children and Young People, and the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth.

“The first forum held earlier this year highlighted the experiences and needs of unaccompanied homeless children,” said Dr Catherine Robinson from our Social Action and Research Centre. “This second full-day forum will examine what best practice looks like in response. It will discuss the policy, program and service delivery needed to achieve better outcomes for these children. It aims to draw on developments in other places so we can learn from their successes and failures”.

Catherine is also about to appear as co-host of a television documentary Filthy Rich and Homeless which airs on SBS over three nights, beginning August 14. “This season features many wonderful people who all put their heart and soul into telling the many stories of what it is to live without home, belonging, safety and dignity,” she said.

Other Anglicare events during Homelessness Week will include a photo exhibition in the reception area of the Launceston library on Friday August 10. This will highlight local people’s struggle to afford housing, with some Tasmanians now forced to spend 50% of their total income on rent (30% is the maximum recommended level).

Anglicare is also holding an art competition for young people on the North West coast, with the winning entries to be permanently housed in a new youth accommodation facility at Devonport.

Here is a full list of all Homelessness Week events happening in Tasmania

Find out more about Anglicare’s Housing Connect service.

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