Could providing homes for the homeless save the Government money? Let’s find out, say ACT Greens


Strictly embargoed until Thursday 24 October 2019

The ACT Greens are calling on the ACT Government to produce an economic analysis to determine what savings could be made by providing supportive housing to people experiencing homelessness.

Experience from jurisdictions including Finland, Canada, and Queensland show that it costs governments less to provide housing for people experiencing homelessness than it does to provide services to them while they sleep rough on the streets.

“My motion in the Assembly today calls on the Government to learn from the experiences of these other jurisdictions – and conduct a cost-benefit analysis of what it costs to house someone, compared to them living on the streets, including the costs of health support, emergency services, other services that interact with people who are homeless and other cost impacts, ” said ACT Greens Health spokesperson Shane Rattenbury.

The number of people in Finland who experience long term homelessness has dropped by more than 35% in a decade, due to their ‘housing first’ policy of unconditionally giving someone a home as soon as it is needed.

“We know that homelessness can profoundly affect a person’s general wellbeing and their ability to fully participate in society, including impacting on their mental and physical health, their education and employment opportunities and ability to maintain a stable life, and their ability to adequately care for their children,” ACT Greens Housing spokesperson Caroline Le Couteur said today.

“We need innovative solutions to end homelessness in Canberra – a cost-benefit analysis of this kind would be a step in the right direction,” Ms Le Couteur added.

The motion calls on the Government to consider:

  • the short- and long-term cost impacts on ACT Government-provided and ACT Government-funded services for these cohorts;
  • financial and other benefits of providing immediate or timely access to social housing or support into the private rental market; and
  • Assess the cost benefits of housing first models, including Common Ground ACT.

Media: Greens Housing spokesperson Caroline Le Couteur will be made available for interview at 12:30pm tomorrow in the Legislative Assembly Member’s Courtyard. Additional interviewees will be made available on request, as well as photo and audio.

Statement ends

Lisa Wills                M 0481 035 764         E