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Invest in affordable housing, says AASW during National Homelessness Week



During National Homelessness Week, which is 4-10 August this year, Australian social workers are calling for more investment in affordable housing to end homelessness.

The AASW supports Homelessness Australia’s ‘Everybody’s Home’ campaign, which calls for a national strategy and a bipartisan plan to end homelessness in Australia by 2030.

Analysis by Homelessness Australia shows investment in social housing will have fallen by $96 million in real terms by next year.

AASW National President Christine Craik said, “If you ask people the reason they are homeless, many trace their situation back to the moment they escaped family violence, they lost their job, they hurt themselves at work or lost a loved one.  Loss, change, abuse and crisis are often the catalyst for homelessness.

“For any individual, becoming homeless can feel like a personal failing and many of our cultural myths around homelessness feed into this.  Family violence, loss and life crises are not new; mass homelessness is, especially for older women. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the number of older women experiencing homelessness has risen by 31 per cent since 2011.

“Homelessness is not a fact of nature, nor the logical consequences of a growing population, but a modern phenomenon. It is the direct result of economic and social inequality and deliberate political decisions not to invest in affordable housing.

“Couple this with an impossible-to-live-on income support payment for those on Newstart of less than $40 a day, and it doesn’t take much to work out why homelessness is increasing.

“If we are serious as a community about tackling homelessness, social workers call on the federal government to take the lead and coordinate a national housing strategy, with state and local governments, and the business and community sectors.”

Homelessness and family violence are key areas of social work practice. The AASW has revised its Scope of Social Work Practice documents in these two practice areas. See them here:

Scope of Social Work Practice – Homelessness
Scope of Social Work Practice – Family Violence
 
ENDS
Christine Craik is available for interview.