Housing action a priority

Housing Connect

In recent weeks Tasmania has experienced some windy, cold weather – leading to community concern about the welfare of people experiencing homelessness.

The media has highlighted examples of ‘rough sleeping’ in Hobart, including people sheltering in tents because they were unable to find affordable housing.

Meanwhile, many more Tasmanians are in temporary accommodation, living with family members and friends, often in severely overcrowded situations.

“There’s a high demand for help from homelessness services, with an average of 25 requests for assistance going unmet each day,” says Chris Jones, Anglicare CEO. “The state’s shortage of affordable housing is now affecting people from all walks of life”.

Anglicare is one of the community organisations that delivers Housing Connect services. Housing Connect is where people can apply for public and social housing or seek bond assistance for private rentals. “Unfortunately there is not enough affordable housing available to meet the current level of need,” says Chris. “Thousands are on the waiting list for public housing, with priority applicants having to wait an average of 49 weeks. At the same time, median rental prices have been increasing – putting the private market out of reach”.

Anglicare also provides crisis accommodation for young men in southern Tasmania, as well as managing long-term residential housing for people on low incomes, and supported accommodation for young people. And 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.

“For many years, Anglicare has highlighted the urgent need for more investment in affordable housing,” says Chris. “We are heartened by the growing community push for action and the State Government’s commitment to prioritising housing for the next four years”.

“It’s clear that Tasmanians are unwilling to see people forced to endure inappropriate or unaffordable shelter – particularly as winter draws closer,” says Chris. “The Housing Connect partners have had the opportunity to present the new Housing Minister, Roger Jaensch, with a range of initiatives we believe would help. We welcome the funding made available for some extra emergency accommodation in Hobart and to increase Housing Connect’s capacity to respond to the high demand for services”.

But Chris says the housing shortage will require a determined, collaborative and long-term effort.

“Affordable, appropriate housing is foundational,” he says. “It affects people’s health and wellbeing, and education and employment outcomes,” he says. “To create a better future for all Tasmanians, we have to address this housing shortfall”.

Find out more about Anglicare’s Housing Connect service.

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