To mark World Homelessness Day today, Labor Shadow Minister for Housing and Homelessness, Ryan Park is calling on the NSW Liberals and Nationals to make reducing the homelessness crisis a priority.
Mr Park says that since the Liberals and Nationals became the Government in 2011 homelessness in NSW has gone up by 33 per cent.
Making matters worse, this year’s State Budget contained not a cent of additional funding to address homelessness. This was despite a commitment by Premier Gladys Berejiklian at the March election to halve street homelessness by 2025.
Labor Leader Jodi McKay has pledged that tackling homelessness will be a personal priority of hers as Premier.
“Tonight in NSW, around 38,000 people will be homeless. That means people sleeping rough, living in cars, couch surfing or staying in emergency accommodation” Mr Park said.
“Homelessness is getting worse in NSW. It’s not just young people, or people in their 30s or 40s. The fastest growing homeless demographic are women aged 55 and over– but the Liberals and Nationals just aren’t doing enough to helping them.”
Information previously provided to COAG shows that NSW isn’t keeping up with the demand for homelessness services. That means the public housing and support services needed to address homelessness aren’t good enough.
“The Liberals and Nationals should use the occasion of World Homelessness Day to get serious about this crisis.”
Mr Park suggested the Liberals and Nationals could start to address the crisis by:
- Stopping the sell-off of public housing
- Increasing investment in public housing
- Implementing successful homelessness response programs like Housing First and
- Increasing funding for early intervention support services.
“The Liberals and Nationals talk a lot about records, but a record they don’t like to talk about is the 33 per cent increase in homelessness in NSW. Without serious investment in social housing and funding being directed to early intervention services, this crisis is only going to get worse”, Mr Park said.