As Homelessness Week begins today the NSW Government must present a clear plan on how they are going to address that more than 38,000 people across NSW are experiencing homelessness, an increase of 37 percent since 2011.
Shadow Minister for Homelessness Ryan Park said this week provided the Government with an opportunity to outline how they will increase access to affordable housing as well as properly funding and coordinating services for those people falling through the cracks.
The level of homelessness in NSW has reached crisis levels and whilst Mr. Park acknowledged the Government’s commitment and focus on reducing the number of rough sleepers, the issue needs to be given far more attention and coordination across Government.
Given there are an estimated 52,932 applicants on the social housing waitlist, some of whom are facing an up to 10-year wait for a property, it is critical that the planning and implementation of appropriate zoning policies and affordable housing targets are implemented.
In addition, Government agencies need to better identify and support vulnerable people who are exiting social housing and finding themselves homeless, which early intervention measures may well have prevented.
The NSW Government urgently needs to prioritise this social crisis by making sure agencies including Health, Housing, Education, FACS and Justice have the goal of preventing homelessness when working with groups and individuals who are overrepresented when it comes to experiencing homelessness and instability in accommodation.
NSW Labor are serious about addressing the homelessness crisis in the state and will be hosting a Homelessness forum August 15th with stakeholders from across the sector invited to examine how we implement short, medium and long term plans to address this issue.
Mr. Park will be visiting a number of support services across NSW this week to once again listen first hand to those dedicated workers who support those most vulnerable in our community.