The following fact sheet highlights the Australian and the Australian Capital Territory governments' efforts to reduce homelessness and includes details on the Australian Capital Territory Implementation Plan under the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness.
Homelessness in the Australian Capital Territory
According to the Counting the Homeless report, 1,364 people were homeless on Census night 2006 in the Australian Capital Territory. Of these:
- 78 were sleeping rough
- 76 per cent were aged 34 or younger
- 22 per cent were aged 12 to 18 years
- 22 per cent were children under 12 years who were with either one or both parents
- 11 per cent were Indigenous
What we are doing
The Australian and Australian Capital Territory Governments are committed to reducing homelessness.
In December 2008, the Australian Government released the White Paper on Homelessness, The Road Home, which called on all levels of government, business, the not-for-profit sector and the community to join together to reduce homelessness.
The Road Home outlined the need for new investment in homelessness and reform of existing services. Homelessness should be prevented wherever possible. People who experience homelessness should be supported to move quickly through the crisis system into long-term housing and at the same time get help to reconnect with education, employment and the community. Mainstream services and homelessness services have to work together more effectively to reduce homelessness.
In The Road Home, the Australian Government adopted two headline goals:
- to halve the rate of overall homelessness by 2020
- offer supported accommodation to all rough sleepers who seek it by 2020.
The White Paper also included interim targets to 2013 to contribute to these long term goals.
Work already under way
In The Road Home the Australian Government committed to boost its efforts across all areas of government to achieve the 2020 headline goals and interim targets for reducing homelessness. This is especially important in areas such as social housing, employment, income support and aged care.
Specific Australian Government initiatives include:
- $93.53 million allocated to the Australian Capital Territory to construct new dwellings and refurbish existing social housing dwellings as part of the $5.6 billion Nation Building Economic Stimulus Plan; over 400 new dwellings have been approved
- $6.4 million to the Australian Capital Territory under the National Partnership Agreement on Social Housing to increase the supply of social housing through the construction of new dwellings
- improvements to Centrelink's capacity to respond to people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness
- additional emergency relief funding, more personal helpers and mentors for people living with severe mental illness, innovative employment services and increased capital and recurrent funding for elderly people who are homeless.
New work through the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness
As part of The Road Home, in December 2008, the Council of Australian Governments established a National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness. Under the Agreement the Australian Government has agreed to provide additional funding for homelessness to the states and territories who have agreed to match Australian Government funding and deliver services and capital projects that will contribute to an overall reduction in homelessness.
The Australian and Australian Capital Territory governments will contribute $20.1 million over five years to reduce homelessness under the Agreement. The Australian Capital Territory has developed an Implementation Plan setting out new initiatives and additional services which will make a substantial contribution toward the achievement of the 2013 interim targets to reduce homelessness.
The Implementation Plan
Under the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness the Australian Capital Territory is delivering a number of initiatives. Some of these initiatives include:
A Place to Call Home
- Twenty additional properties over five years to house homeless families and provide those families with the necessary supports to sustain their tenancies. The client may initially be housed under a head leasing tenancy arrangement with a homelessness service acting as both landlord and support provider; the tenancy will transfer to the client when they are able to sustain their own public housing tenancy.
Street to Home ACT
- Active outreach and support for up to 20 rough sleepers, particularly young rough sleepers. This will include providing health and legal support services.
Building Housing Partnerships – Supportive Sustaining Tenancy Service
- Intensive case management for 700 individuals and families to break the cycle of homelessness and disadvantage. This will be done through coordinating and delivering a range of services to sustain their tenancy and assist them improve their living skills, undertake training and find employment.
Central Intake Service – First Point
- First Point commenced operation in October 2010 and provides a central point of contact for people at risk of or experiencing homelessness to access homelessness services and social housing to ensure that clients do not have to negotiate with multiple agencies in order to access services.
Staying at Home After Domestic Violence (STAY) Program
- Assistance for families experiencing domestic violence to remain in their homes through Housing ACT partnering with the Domestic Violence Crisis Service and appropriate legal services to remove the perpetrator from the tenancy agreement.
Housing and Accommodation Support Initiative
- Ten integrated packages of housing and mental health support to provide sustainable tenancies in public housing to people with moderate to severe mental health issues.
Managed Accommodation Program
- Up to fifteen men and five women will be accommodated at any one time as part of a planned transition from the Alexander Maconochie Centre. Up to ten men and five women will also be provided with outreach support.
- Provision of accommodation and support for young people aged 16-25 years old to maintain stable housing and engage with education and employment services.