Yesterday we learned that the Federal Government intends to abolish the $21.13 million Housing and Homelessness Grants program, part of which funds three national peaks; Homelessness Australia (HA), National Shelter and the Community Federation of Housing Australia (CHFA).
Putting aside the appalling timing just days before Christmas, this alarming and unexpected news has left the sector reeling. Our colleagues in the national peaks now face an uncertain future. Today we wrote to Minister Scott Morrison, the newly appointed Federal Minister for Social Services, to express our alarm and concern at the funding cuts. You can read our letter below.
The national peak bodies play a critical role in giving a voice to our most vulnerable citizens at a national level.
By way of background, earlier this year the Federal Government announced that it was consolidating its funding arrangements in the social service area into four new grants categories, one of which was a Housing and Homelessness Grants program providing funding for national peak bodies and research.
Yesterday’s news that the funding will be cut means the three vital national peak bodies will no longer receive funding from 31 June 2015.
The Council to Homeless Persons is deeply concerned about this news, and the impact on homelessness policy and advocacy , and hope to see the cuts reversed.
We encourage services to write to Minister Morrison to express concern about the funding cuts.
As well as providing funding for peak bodies, the $21.13 grants program also funds a range of other national initiatives. The full extent of the cut will become clearer in the coming days and weeks, but we do know that CHP has lost some vital funding for our national homelessness publication Parity.
Is there any update on the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness? We are still awaiting news on the extension of the NPAH, which is due to expire on 30 June 2015. Yesterday’s announcement does not have any direct bearing on the NPAH. We have reiterated to the Minister the importance of continuing this funding agreement.