Members Statement: Homelessness

This week is Homelessness Week. There are certainly few issues more serious than being homeless — having nowhere to stay, nowhere to sleep, nowhere to keep your things, nowhere to eat your meals, nowhere to shower or wash your clothes, nowhere to go home to or to call home.
Wednesday, August 9, 2017 - 8:30am
Speaker:
Sue Pennicuik

Ms PENNICUIK (Southern Metropolitan) — This week is Homelessness Week. There are certainly few issues more serious than being homeless — having nowhere to stay, nowhere to sleep, nowhere to keep your things, nowhere to eat your meals, nowhere to shower or wash your clothes, nowhere to go home to or to call home. Homelessness Australia reports that there are currently 105 237 people in Australia who are homeless, or 49 out of every 10 000 people, 0.5 per cent of the population or 1 in every 200 people. Fifty-six per cent are male and 44 per cent are female. Twenty-five per cent are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and 30 per cent were born overseas. Thirty-seven per cent are under 18 years of age and 17 per cent are under 12 years of age. These figures are sobering.

Homelessness Australia reports that 22 789 people in Victoria are homeless. This has increased by almost 21 per cent since 2006. People are staying in improvised dwellings, in tents or they are sleeping out. They are staying in supported accommodation for the homeless, in other households temporarily, in boarding houses or in severely overcrowded dwellings.

In an article in the Guardian, as part of its 'No fixed address' series, David West wrote:

The closest feeling to having nowhere to stay for the night is that of a broken heart. It is a feeling of abandonment, of rejection and loneliness. When you are homeless you feel rejected by all, not just by another.

Homelessness can happen to anyone, and it is happening to more and more people every day. It is a social crisis that we must get on top of lest we end up like America, with millions of people living on the streets.