Let’s be the first to end homeless plight
OVER the past few weeks, we have witnessed an extraordinary response by our State Government to the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure the safety of some of our most vulnerable – those who have been sleeping rough on our city streets are now being housed and supported in hotels and motels.
I sincerely thank Premier Steven Marshall and HumanServices Minister Michelle Lensink for this swift and innovative response. However, I can’t help but wonder what happens next? Where will those people go after we lift restrictions and life returns to a post COVID reality?
Homelessness is not a new issue, and it can happen to anyone. Many people who have faced or are facing potential homelessness are just like you or me. They belong to families, many have worked in good jobs, and they’ve had hopes and ambitions for their future – but somewhere along the way, events in their lives have disrupted them.
Homelessness is not just people sleeping rough on the streets; 7 per cent of people experiencing homelessness in Australia sleep rough.
The other 93 per cent are in insecure short-term accommodation, boarding houses, couch-surfing with family or friends, sleeping in their cars and other such circumstances.
For cities, reducing the number of people who are homeless has become one of the key goals in the pursuit for strong, inclusive and equitable communities. It makes social, cultural and economic sense.
Most importantly, it is the right thing to do. Everybody in our community should have a safe place to live. The lack of affordable rental housing and the long wait lists for social housing – almost 200,000 nationally – is a key contributing factor, a clear sign that affordable and social housing programs are not working for those who need them most.
Homelessness is complex, yet we know a great deal on how to prevent it.
Housing is the answer – provide safe, short-term and permanent accommodation along with wrap-around health and support services.
Preventing and addressing homelessness requires housing innovation across the spectrum.
This requires leadership from all three levels of government, along with the collaboration of the homelessness and housing sectors to create change.
The City of Adelaide is committed to ending street homelessness in our city. Together with the State Government, we are major partners in the Adelaide Zero Project, a collective-impact initiative involving more than 30 organisations, all with the common goal to end street homelessness in the CBD.
Affordable and social housing programs are not working for those who need them most
Everybody has a role to play – residents, social services, government, developers and businesses.
We are a city of firsts, unique and authentically Australian, with an absolute determination to do what’s right.
Let’s be the first city to end homelessness.