The St Vincent de Paul Society has marked National Homeless Persons’ Week this year by drawing attention to the people who are locked out of Australian society, including the members of Australia’s First Peoples.
“We welcome the Federal Government’s genuine commitment to halve the rate of homelessness and offer supported accommodation to all those who seek it by 2020”, said Chief Executive, Dr John Falzon.
“We also acknowledge that we cannot eliminate homelessness as a nation unless we invest in social housing.
“We remain deeply concerned about the inadequacy of social security benefits, especially the Newstart Allowance. Being forced to survive on $34 a day increases a person’s vulnerability to homelessness.
“We want to remember the high proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People who experience homelessness in Australia.
“It is a grave injustice that the First Peoples of this land represented 20% of persons who required specialist homelessness services in 2009/10. This is a massive over- representation.”
National President, Mr Anthony Thornton, said: “We are grateful for the wonderful community support for our efforts to address homelessness in Australia. The people who are locked out of Australian society are precisely the people for whom we are here.
“People are pushed into homelessness because of domestic violence, poverty and social inequality. As a prosperous nation, we should at least ensure that all people are given the basic right to housing. This would provide the safe and secure base from which together we can address other problems.”
Further comment: John Falzon 0421332247