Media Release by The Hon Tanya Pibersek MP

$150M to build new homes for the homeless

As part of its commitment to tackle homelessness, the Australian Government today announced the allocation of $150 million to build 600 new homes for the homeless across the nation over the next five years.

The A Place to Call Home strategy will see homeless families and individuals move directly into these homes instead of going into refuges. They will also receive tenancy and other support for the first 12 months.

Those placed in the new housing will not have to leave at the end of the support period. The homes will be transferred to the general public housing pool and their tenancy extended in accordance with normal arrangements for public housing.

A Place to Call Home is an immediate response to tackle homelessness and successfully reintegrate people with the broader community and stop them from cycling in and out of homelessness services.

Today’s capital funding will help to ensure that homeless individuals and families get the support they need to permanently break the cycle of homelessness and allow them an opportunity to establish a place they call home.

On any given night there are more than 100,000 homeless people across Australia – half of them under the age of 24 – and after 17 straight years of economic growth we should have done better.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is committed to finding answers but this problem won’t be fixed overnight. Homelessness is a complex issue and will take a coordinated effort across all levels of government as well as the not-for-profit and corporate sectors.

A Place to Call Home will start in the second half of this year. Distribution of funds is as follows:

 State Funding $M Houses
NSW 38.80 155
VIC 29.53 118
QLD 35.73 143
WA 17.01 68
SA 11.03 44
TAS 5.00 20
ACT 5.00 20
NT 7.89 32

Funds are being distributed based on the number of homeless people in each jurisdiction from ABS Census data with a guarantee that States and Territories will receive at least $1 million each year.

Ms Plibersek made the announcement at the launch of the Australia’s Homeless Youth report in Sydney.

The Government welcomes this report. It will inform the development of the Government’s White Paper which will set out a new, ambitious approach to dealing with homelessness over the next decade.

A Green Paper will invite public submissions once it is tabled in Parliament at the end of May.