Media Release by Senator the Hon Mark Arbib

Funding for Mental Health Service to Help Address Qld Homelessness

The Gillard Government is investing up to $200 million to boost accommodation support for people in Queensland and around Australia who are homeless or at risk of homelessness as part of the $2.2 billion mental health reform package.

Visiting the Federation Hub House on the Gold Coast today the Minister for Social Housing and Homelessness Mark Arbib said the Government was committed to tackling homelessness through the National Partnership Agreement on Mental Health.

“I’m happy to be at Federation Hub House today – a mental health organisation that provides support for people with a mental illness,” Senator Arbib said.

“The Federation Hub helps people develop daily living skills, expand their social networks, encourage a healthy lifestyle and provide an environment for people at the house to contribute to the community in significant and meaningful ways.

“The Gillard Government understands the strong link between mental health issues and homelessness and the important role facilities such as Federation Hub House play in supporting those with mental illness.

“It is incredibly difficult to manage mental illness without stable housing and the necessary support to help people maintain their tenancies.”

Senator Arbib said $2.2 billion in funding for mental health was delivered in last month’s Budget providing a major funding boost that would improve outcomes and support for all Australians living with mental illness.

“This Budget initiative is a determined step to break the tragic cycle of homelessness and hospitalisation when it comes to people with a mental illness,” Senator Arbib said

“Our mental health package will help Queensland to deliver better mental health support services for people who use this centre.

“The funding includes an additional 425 new community health workers, on top of the current 1,000 personal helpers and mentors, to support a further 3,400 people with severe mental illness.

“And through this Budget we will achieve complete national coverage of the headspace model assisting 72,000 young people across 90 sites.

“This complements the historic funding of almost $5 billion directed towards homelessness since 2008.”

Australian Bureau of Statistics research reveals that of the half a million Australians who reported ever being homeless, more than half of those experienced a mental health problem longer than 12 months.