The following fact sheet highlights the Australian and New South Wales governments' efforts to reduce homelessness and includes details on New South Wales' Implementation Plan under the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness.
Homelessness in New South Wales
According to the Counting the Homeless Report, 27,374 New South Wales people were homeless on Census night 2006. Of these:
- 3,715 were sleeping rough
- 55 per cent were aged 34 or younger
- 18 per cent were aged 12 to 18 years
- 11 per cent were children under 12 years who were with either one or both parents
- 7 per cent were Indigenous.
What we are doing
The Australian and New South Wales Governments are committed to reducing homelessness.
In December 2008, the Australian Government released a 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.
Some of these commitments include:
- $1.89 billion allocated to New South Wales to construct new dwellings and refurbish existing social housing dwellings as part of the $5.6 billion Nation Building Economic Stimulus Plan; over 6,300 new dwellings have been approved under Stage One and Stage Two of the construction.
- $130.4 million to New South Wales under the National Partnership Agreement on Social Housing to increase the supply of social housing.
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 New South Wales governments will jointly contribute $392.3 million over five years to reduce homelessness under the Agreement. New South Wales 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. This Implementation Plan is an important component of the New South Wales response to homelessness.
The Implementation Plan
Under the Agreement New South Wales is delivering a number of initiatives. Some of these include:
Long-Term Accommodation and Support for Women and Children Experiencing Domestic and Family Violence
- Provides long-term supported accommodation to women and children who are experiencing domestic violence and are required to leave their home. The project also aims to improve the safety of women and children.
Camperdown Common Ground Project
- An integrated social housing project, modelled on the Common Ground project which has been successfully delivered in New York. It provides permanent housing for previously homeless people, as well as delivering on‑site support services to help get them back on their feet. The site also provides affordable housing for low to moderate income households.
Foyer Model for Young People in Illawarra
- An early intervention response, the project provides on-site accommodation and support services to young people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Residents are supported to engage in education, training and employment opportunities.
Community Offender Support Programs
- Support and accommodation to people prior to their exit from correctional facilities who are at risk of homelessness. Links clients to programs aimed at reducing reoffending.
Tenancy Support Mid-North Coast and Richmond/Tweed
- Provide tenancy support in Richmond/Tweed and the Mid North Coast to assist people to maintain their tenancies and prevent transitions into homelessness. This initiative will focus on reducing the significant number of people, including Aboriginal people, in these locations who are currently accessing crisis services from long-term accommodation.
Assertive Outreach for Rough Sleepers
- The Coordination of Assertive Outreach and Supportive Housing in Inner Sydney and the Newcastle Assertive Outreach Service will actively work with people on the streets to facilitate their move into long-term accommodation with support.
Homelessness Regional Action Plans
- Homelessness Regional Action Plans have been established in 10 regions across New South Wales and complement the New South Wales Homelessness Action Plan.
For more information on the New South Wales Homelessness Action Plan visit the New South Wales Housing website.