Today Homelessness Australia and National Shelter are starting a national campaign calling on the Federal Government to commit to re-funding the $115 million National Partnership on Housing (NPAH) agreement, which is due to expire from July 2017. Since 2011-12, federal homelessness funding delivered through the NPAH has been cut from $300 million per year (2011-12) to just $115 million per year in 2014-15. But in that four-year period, the demand on homelessness services has risen by 10 per cent, around 20,000 people. If the funding was cut altogether even more people would be thrust into homelessness, including women and children fleeing violence.
And it’s not just $115 million that is at stake. Together with matching funds from state and territory governments, the NPAH represents about one-third of all homelessness funding. These resources allow 180 services nationally to support 80,000 people experiencing homelessness. The people who benefit include women and children fleeing family violence, young people who can’t live at home, people sleeping on our streets, and older women struggling with affordability in the the private rental market. If this funding was cut altogether, the number of people thrust into homelessness or unable to escape homelessness would increase significantly. Homelessness services are already forced to turn away 329 people each day because they simply do not have the resources.
To give some background, the NPAH was introduced in 2009 alongside The Road Home plan to address homelessness. After the initial four-year agreement, it was extended twice for 12 months, and for two years in 2015 to July 2017. No provision has been made for NPAH funding in the 2016 Budget forward estimates.
Homelessness Australia and National Shelter are calling on the Federal Government to commit to five years of NPAH funding, and a new national plan to end homelessness. We have the solutions to homelessness at our finger tips – we just need the political will and resources necessary to deliver.