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Tackling homelessness key to reducing mental health issues – time to recommit to a national homelessness agenda

World Mental Health Day/World Homeless Day – 10 October 2015

The St Vincent de Paul Society is calling on the federal government to meet with key service providers, peaks and community organisations and to commit to developing a revitalised national approach to tackle homelessness, the shortage of social and affordable housing and urgent action on providing more mental health support services to people who are experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness.

St Vincent de Paul Society Chief Executive Dr John Falzon said:

“Homelessness is one of the most significant social issues facing prosperous Australia today, with more and more Australians experiencing homelessness – recent research by RMIT showed that one in eight Australians will face homelessness at some point during their lives.

“Not having safe and adequate housing can cause significant stress and pressure on people’s mental health.

“An individual’s mental health crisis almost never occurs in isolation:  it is intertwined with housing stress, employment options, race, gender, class, place, and the success or otherwise of previous mental health interventions. We call for a new approach to mental health in Australia that recognises these intersectional issues, and focuses on community education and early intervention.

“Homelessness was a national emergency in 2008 when the white paper on homelessness was released and after seven years it remains a national emergency.

“Over the past two years we haven’t seen the commitment to this issue that is needed by our national leaders, and uncertainty remains in the sector about the federal government’s direction in taking responsibility for tackling homelessness,” said Dr Falzon.

Media contact: Evan Langdon 0400 845 492 or media@svdp.org.au

About Vinnies

St Vincent de Paul Society is a lay Catholic organisation working towards a more just and compassionate society.

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