1. How much is 'all this' costing the tax payer?
The development of the White Paper has been absorbed within the Department appropriations. All funding for initiatives in the National Action Plan have been considered in the budget context.
2. Why didn't you just use that money to get people off the streets?
The National Action Plan provides a new approach to homelessness through bringing people from the margins into the mainstream, and maximising their opportunities in the work and life of the broader Australian community. The focus is more on prevention and early intervention to stop the cycle of homelessness. A key target of the new approach is to be more effective in getting people off the streets.
As well as developing a long term strategy to address homelessness, the Government recognises that immediate action also needs to be taken. The Government has invested $150 million in the A Place to Call Home program which will build 600 new homes across Australia for individuals and families experiencing homelessness.
Under the A Place to Call Home program, people will be provided with safe, affordable and permanent accommodation. They will also receive a tailored support package for the first 12 months of their tenancy, which will help them break the cycle of homelessness and reintegrate with the broader community.
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3. Why put out yet another report to 'look into things' - when will something actually be DONE?
The White Paper is a national action plan for addressing homelessness in Australia to 2020. Through the National Affordability Housing Agreement, all levels of government will agree to an overarching framework for Australia's affordable housing and homelessness strategies. It will bring together the existing government homelessness and housing subsidies and programs. The aim is to deliver better housing outcomes for people, whether they are currently homeless or trying to find an affordable rental home or a home to buy.
The A Place to Call Home program is already being implemented in some States. For example the Victorian Government will build a supported accommodation facility in the Melbourne CBD providing affordable housing for 120 people. They will also acquire an additional 68 dwellings in regional and outer metropolitan areas of Victoria. The Tasmanian Government will build a 40-bed Common Ground housing facility in the Hobart CBD and the South Australian Government will construct a Foyer model facility to house 40 young homeless people in Adelaide, and a 40-bed Common Ground housing facility in Port Augusta. The first families are already moving into new A Place to Call Home properties in NSW.
4. Why did you need a green and a white paper? Can't you just come up with a plan for helping people who are homeless?
After 17 years of continuous economic growth it is unacceptable that, each night, 100,000 Australians are homeless. The current response to homelessness was not having enough impact on the lives of homeless people. The Government placed homelessness as a key priority of its social inclusion agenda. The Green Paper was the first step in developing a new approach to addressing homelessness. The White Paper provides a new national comprehensive long term plan to 2020.
5. So what's the next firm action you're going to take?
The White Paper provides a detailed national comprehensive action plan to address homelessness to 2020. The new approach provides national commitment and strong leadership. From 1 January 2009, the National Affordable Housing Agreement with all levels of government will provide the overarching framework for implementation of the National Action Plan on homelessness.
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6. Will we have to wait until next year's Budget before funding is allocated to implementing your homelessness strategy?
Australian Government funding to homelessness services is continuing and the Government has announced several initiatives to address the housing affordability in Australia such as A Place to call Home and the Housing Affordability Fund.
The A Place to Call Home program will continue to be rolled out in all States and Territories around Australia, with the goal of 600 new houses to be achieved by 2013.
7. How will you plan work? Surely you will have to have the cooperation of State and Territory Governments - are they on board?
Through the National Affordability Housing Agreement, all levels of government will agree to an overarching framework for Australia's affordable housing and homelessness strategies. It will bring together the existing government homelessness and housing subsidies and programs. The aim is to deliver better housing outcomes for people, whether they are currently homeless or trying to find an affordable rental home or a home to buy.
8. What are your targets and timeframes?
The national action plan provides a comprehensive long term approach to addressing homelessness including goals, targets and strategies.