WA Greens: Urgent action needed as homelessness hits hard
Almost 92,000 people sought help from homelessness agencies in the past three months - triggering a renewed call from Western Australian Greens for urgent action.
Greens national spokesperson for housing, Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlam, said the crisis has severe consequences for vulnerable people.
"The Specialist Homelessness Services Collection research shows almost one fifth of the 91,627 people who were assisted in this quarter were children under the age of ten, and half were people under 25. More than a quarter of people seeking help have suffered domestic violence. With almost 19,000 people sleeping rough we need urgent action to solve this crisis."
"We need to see a commitment to at least doubling funding for homelessness services and accommodation in the new National Affordable Housing Agreement which is being negotiated this year for the next four years of funding.
"The National Rental Affordability Scheme launched in 2008 provided enough incentives for 50,000 new affordable rental properties, with a further 50,000 homes promised from 2012 if demand was strong. Most people now experiencing homelessness were private renters and it's time to hold the Federal Government to their promise."
Greens WA housing spokesperson Lynn MacLaren MLC said: "In addition to urgent funding for shelters and homeless support services, we need to dramatically increase affordable rental housing".
"The State Government cannot rely on Commonwealth action alone to deal with a problem of this scale," said Ms MacLaren. "The Greens' Convert to Rent initiative would deliver grants to help landlords convert empty commercial space, shop-top rooms, and run-down homes into affordable rental housing - this could make a big difference to the affordable housing shortage at a low cost: for example $350 million would result in 15,000 more affordable rentals. The Barnett Government should embrace this initiative."