This fact sheet highlights the Australian and Northern Territory governments' efforts to reduce homelessness and includes details on the Northern Territory Implementation Plan for the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness.
Homelessness in the Northern Territory
According to the Counting the Homeless report, 4,785 people were homeless in the Northern Territory on Census night 2006. Of these:
- 1,588 were sleeping rough
- 55 per cent were aged 34 years or younger
- 23 per cent were aged 12 to 18 years
- 10 per cent were children under 12 years who were with either one or both parents
- 34.6 per cent were Indigenous.
What we are doing
The Australian and Northern Territory governments are committed to reducing homelessness.
In December 2008, The Road Home - the Australian Government's White Paper on Homelessness was released. The Road Home 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:
- $59.7 million allocated to the Northern Territory to construct new dwellings and refurbish existing social housing dwellings as part of the $5.6 billion Nation Building Economic Stimulus Plan; over 200 new dwellings have been approved under Stages One and Two
- $4.1 million to the Northern Territory under the National Partnership Agreement on Social Housing to increase the supply of social housing
- improvements to Centrelink's capacity to respond to people who are homeless or are 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 Northern Territory governments will contribute $54.99 million over five years to reduce homelessness under the Agreement. The Northern 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.
The Northern Territory's response to homelessness
Under the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness the Northern Territory is delivering a number of initiatives targeting the urban centres of Darwin, Katherine, Tennant Creek and Alice Springs. Some of these initiatives include:
A Place to Call Home (APTCH)
- Thirty two new social housing dwellings for medium need clients on the public housing wait list. Targeted and intensive support will be provided to clients for one year under the APTCH with clients transferred to public housing once they are able to sustain and maintain an independent tenancy.
Assistance for Rough Sleepers
- An Intervention and Case Management Service for people sleeping rough in town areas provides return to country, intervention, referral and identification services for homelessness and itinerant people across the Territory.
Youth Development Crisis Accommodation
- Accommodation and support services for 44 children and young Indigenous people per year in Tennant Creek to assist them to access secure accommodation, attend school and training, remain engaged with family and to build their life skills.
Tenancy Sustainability Program
- Intensive case management and life skills training for public housing tenants and applicants, as well as residents of Community Living Areas (town camps), who require assistance to manage and sustain their tenancies.
Assistance for People Leaving Correctional Services
- Support for people exiting prison and juvenile detention to enable a smooth reintegration into community with strong case management to assist people to overcome barriers to reintegration and reduce reoffending behaviour.
Domestic and Family Violence Support
- Assistance for families, children and young people experiencing domestic and family violence who are at risk of homelessness, through support services, residential care, domestic and sexual assault services and crisis support.