Homelessness ‘ worst in close to 50 years’
MORE Australians are sleeping rough or without a place to call home than ever before according to one of the sector’s leading advocates.
Reverend Bill Crews from the Exodus Foundation has been working with the homeless since 1970 and said the current state of the issue was worse than he had seen it in close to 50 years.
“Honestly it’s worse than I’ve ever seen since 1970 and it’s getting worse,” Rev Crews said. “There is increasing discrepancy between the rich and the poor ... and there is so much contract work so there are a lot of people who are really underemployed and just aren’t able to pay for housing.
“Domestic violence issues are also on the rise leading to more women and children sleeping in their cars or on the street.
“It’s devastating the number of people we are seeing on the streets. And the problem is no longer confined to the cities. Almost every suburb you go into now you will find someone who is homeless.”
The most recent census data on homelessness is yet to be made available, however estimates put the figure up 20 per cent since 2011, with around 23,000 Aussies sleeping rough.
Today News Corp Australia will launch the AskIzzy power card campaign in order to address this worsening issue. Members of the public can purchase a $ 15 power card for someone in need which charges their phone for four hours and keeps them in touch with services like food and shelter.
AskIzzy is a mobile app and website that allows homeless users to search for vital services in their area. This year it has had more than 400,000 searches from people sleeping rough.
The Townsville Bulletin can also reveal the Federal Government will today begin making available $ 117.2 million in key funding to support more than 700 critical frontline homelessness services.
The money will prioritise services to women and children experiencing domestic violence and young people experiencing homelessness.
THERE IS INCREASING DISCREPANCY BETWEEN THE RICH AND THE POOR.
REVEREND BILL CREWS
STREET- HARDENED: John Kenney has spent most of his life on the street and can see the benefit of News Corp’s AskIzzy campaign.