The following fact sheet highlights the Australian and Tasmanian governments' efforts to reduce homelessness and includes details on Tasmania’s Implementation Plan under the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness.
Homelessness in Tasmania
According to the Counting the Homeless report, 2,507 Tasmanians were homeless on Census night 2006. Of these:
- 385 were sleeping rough
- 69 per cent were aged 34 or younger
- 21 per cent were aged 12 to 18 years
- 14 per cent were children under 12 years who were with either one or both parents
- 8.3 per cent were Indigenous.
What we are doing
The Tasmanian and Australian 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.
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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.
Some of these initiatives include:
- $134.8 million allocated to Tasmania to construct new dwellings and refurbish existing social housing dwellings as part of the $5.6 billion Nation Building Economic Stimulus Plan; over 500 new dwellings have been approved under Stage One and Stage Two
- $9.3 million to Tasmania 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 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 Tasmanian governments will contribute over $32.9 million over five years to reduce homelessness under the Agreement. Tasmania has developed an Implementation Plan setting out new initiatives and additional services which will make a substantial contribution toward reducing homelessness.
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The Implementation Plan
Priorities for Tasmania are to:
- increase the supply of affordable accommodation and expand the range of homelessness services including the provision of targeted specialist support
- build an integrated services system where support services are linked to ensure tenancies are able to be maintained
- achieve seamless pathways to access the range of social housing options. These priorities are reflected in the six key initiatives identified in the Homelessness Implementation Plan.
Under the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness Tasmania is delivering the following initiatives:
Specialist Intervention Tenancy Services
- New specialist intervention tenancy services will be staffed by multi-disciplinary teams aimed at complementing existing tenancy support programs. People targeted by this initiative include young people leaving the care and protection system, youth justice facilities, adults leaving correctional facilities, people who have been chronically homeless and people who are at risk of being evicted. Four teams will be established across Tasmania and will provide support to the Same House Different Landlord Program.
Same House Different Landlord Program
- Assist people experiencing homelessness to move directly into long term accommodation. Tenants will receive support services for the duration of their need to stabilise and sustain tenancies. The Program is targeted at people who are chronically homeless (rough sleepers), homeless families with children, young people, and people leaving child protection services, correctional or health facilities.
Supported Accommodation Facilities
- Five specific-purpose facilities will be built over the next two years; two each in Hobart and Launceston and one in Ulverstone. All facilities will provide property and tenancy management and support services to people who are homeless, on low incomes or with high support needs.
Improvements in Service Coordination and Provision
- This initiative will focus on improving and integrating homelessness and mainstream services to deliver a seamless pathway into stable accommodation for homeless people. Initiatives include improved service quality and standards, better performance information, common assessment frameworks and the setting of a property register and allocations framework.
Tasmanian Homelessness Plan: Coming in from the cold
- A key part of the Plan is that homelessness is a whole of-government and community responsibility. The Plan has a state wide focus on prevention of homelessness, appropriate service delivery and specify initiatives against specific state priorities. The Plan was released in September 2010. A Mid-term report was released in April 2012, outlining the progress and achievements made under the Tasmanian Homelessness Plan.
Workforce Capacity Audit and Development Plan
- A Workforce audit will be conducted to examine the skills and capability requirements of the homelessness sector. The audit will also identify the learning and development requirements to better meet the needs of the sector and to inform a workforce development plan.