Media Release by The Hon John Cobb MP

AIHW bulletin highlights child homelessness

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) today released a bulletin showing that children make up 43 per cent of people in supported accommodation.

‘The main findings of the bulletin are very disturbing and highlight one of the main causes for people with children, and unaccompanied young people, seeking support under the Supported Accommodation Assistance Program (SAAP) is violence and family breakdown,’ Minister for Community Services John Cobb said today.

The AIHW bulletin should be a wake up call to all Australians that domestic violence is unacceptable with usually devastating consequences on individuals, families and the community,’ Mr Cobb said.

‘The bulletin found that 58 per cent of people with children who utilised SAAP services did so as a result of relationship breakdowns or violence.

‘The Australian Government supports people and families who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless through the SAAP program.

‘SAAP is a jointly funded Australian and State and Territory Governments program which assists people to achieve the maximum possible degree of self-reliance and independence.

‘Australian Government funding in excess of $932 million has been allocated for the program for five years to June 2010, and is underpinned by bilateral agreements with the States and Territories.

‘Of this, around $40 million will be directed to an Innovation and Investment Fund, which will include increased involvement in early intervention and prevention strategies, providing better assistance to people who have a number of support needs, and delivering ongoing assistance to ensure stability to clients.

‘The Australian Government has a number of other programs and policies in place to assist people who are homeless or at risk of being homeless.

‘To help families with relationship difficulties and breakdowns, $189 million has been allocated to establish 65 Family Relationship Centres, where families can go to get help and advice with their relationship problems.

‘The Australian Government’s funding of the Reconnect and Youthlinx initiatives offer support to younger Australians who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, providing opportunities for young Australians to remain connected with their families, communities, training and education.

‘The Australian Government is committed to continuing its strong support to those affected by family violence and relationship breakdown,’ Mr Cobb said.