Media Release by The Hon Tanya Pibersek MP

Homeless Australians to benefit from social housing stimulus

The Rudd Government today announced that at least 50 per cent of new social housing units delivered under the Nation Building Economic Stimulus Plan will be provided to homeless Australians, or those at risk of homelessness.

The announcement was made on the first anniversary of the launch of the Australian Government”s Homelessness White Paper.

“Through the White Paper we have made reducing homelessness a national priority,” Tanya Plibersek said.

“Now I am pleased to announce that the States and Territories are on track to allocate more than 50 per cent of new social housing homes to homeless Australians, or those at risk of homelessness.

“The Rudd Government”s record investment in social housing means a home for close to 10,000 Australian households who had previously been homeless or at risk of homelessness.

Of the 19,200 new homes to be built from Nation Building funds, 5,690 homes are already under construction. Three quarters of these homes will be completed by December 2010.

“The ABS estimates that on any given night, there are 105,000 homeless people in Australia. Reducing homelessness will take a sustained effort by all levels of government, business, charities and the community,” Ms Plibersek said.

“The Government”s White Paper on Homelessness found that Australia needs more social housing as well as new services that specifically target specific groups of people who are homeless.

“One year on, much progress has been made: more homes for homeless people, reforms to improve existing services and new funding for additional services so that when homeless people are housed they stay housed.”

In addition to the new social housing dwellings, there are 40 new specialist homelessness projects across the country including:

  • Eight new facilities for single homeless people based on the Common Ground model that has been successful in New York
  • Three facilities providing housing to young homeless people who agree to participate in education and training
  • Two services targeting older homeless people including people who have been long term rough sleepers.
  • New housing for women and children escaping domestic violence and a project to provide alternative accommodation for perpetrators of violence so that women and children are able to stay in the family home.

The report, Along the Road Home, outlines the progress on commitments to combat homelessness.