Minister for Homelessness and Housing Services Rebecca Vassarotti says the ACT’s homelessness indicators released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare today are concerning and show the importance of co-designed services with the sector to ensure Canberrans can break out of the homelessness cycle for good.
“Homelessness must be brief, rare and non-recurring – where everyone can access the support they need for a safe and long-term home. This is more than just a roof over their head, but a connection to services and community to overcome the challenges people face that drive them towards homelessness.
“The AIHW data concerns me, particularly around repeat homelessness. It is a complex issue which cannot be solved overnight. But there is a clear need to address the challenges that lead people into, and stay, in the homelessness cycle.
“We know that the sector needs to be funded to deliver crisis and frontline support as we work towards our vision of ending homelessness. This is why baseline funding for the ACT’s homelessness sector has increased from $20 million in 2018-2019 to $30 million in 2022-23.
“We cannot only invest in the crisis end of support. We need innovative solutions that ensures everyone has a home and the right wrap-around services for their circumstances. The ACT Government partners with the homelessness services sector to better understand the number of rough sleepers, changes in demand and ensure that we are responding appropriately. We recently started to coordinate data collection to identify, record and better understand Canberrans who are sleeping rough on the streets, squatting, in cars, parks, railway carriages or improvised dwellings.
“The ACT Government is also in a co-design process with the homelessness sector and people with lived experience to deliver new initiatives that lower the risk and duration of homelessness.
“We won’t see the impact of these initiatives immediately, but it is part of an integrated response to address these concerning figures and ensure homelessness in the ACT is a brief and rare experience.”