Media Release by The Hon Tanya Pibersek MP

AIHW releases ‘Demand for SAAP accommodation by Homeless People 2006/07’ Report

Homeless families found it harder than homeless single people to secure accommodation through the Supported Accommodation Assistance Program (SAAP) in 2006/07, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

The report Demand for SAAP accommodation by Homeless People 2006-07 found that families use emergency accommodation for longer periods making turnover of available family accommodation slower.

More than 14,000 people were able to be accommodated through SAAP agencies on any given night in 2006-07, while 368 people were turned away.

“While the reporting period existed entirely under the previous Liberal Government, the AIHW figures make it clear that we need to improve our existing response to homelessness,” , Tanya Plibersek said.

“With a Prime Minister who is committed to addressing homelessness, plus all three levels of government, the community and the business sector working together, we have a once in a generation opportunity to break the cycle of homelessness.

“The Government has already made a down payment of $150 million through the A Place To Call Home initiative to build 600 new homes for homeless Australians.”

Ms Plibersek said Common Ground facilities are now planned or underway in four states – South Australia, NSW, Victoria and Tasmania.

“Just this week, I announced a $55 million Commonwealth/State initiative through A Place To Call Home to build a Common Ground facility in Elizabeth Street in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD, plus an additional 68 properties across regional Victoria and plans for a Common Ground facility in Tasmania.

“Common Ground provides people with permanent, affordable housing first. Common Ground recognises that people need services under one roof and that people with high and complex needs benefit from wrap-around support.”

The Government is developing a White Paper on homelessness, which will be released later this year.