Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Extended Assistance to Help Families at Risk of Homelessness

A programme helping families who are at risk of becoming homeless has been extended with funding of $10.4 million over four years in the 2004-05 Budget, the Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, said today.

The successful Family Homelessness Prevention Pilots (FHPPs) will be extended for the next four years and renamed as the Household Organisational Management Expenses (HOME) Advice Programme.

Senator Patterson said the HOME Advice Programme would continue to provide support and early intervention for families at risk of homelessness from 1 July 2004, helping around 400 families a year.

“HOME will allow community agencies to continue to help families stabilise their housing and financial circumstances and assist them with access to community services, education support, services for children, labour market programs, health services and parenting skills,” she said.

“The eight existing FHPP services located in each state and territory will continue to be funded.”

The FHPPs have been successful in addressing the issues faced by families at risk of homelessness. A recent evaluation of the programme found that:

  • 90 per cent of families stayed in their homes or moved to more appropriate accommodation;
  • 78 per cent of families had improved outcomes in their finances, health, family relationships, employment, education and community participation; and
  • 75 per cent of families stayed in, or moved into, private accommodation.

Senator Patterson said: “We know that homelessness doesn’t happen overnight. It is an unfortunate fact that many families in the community experience a downward spiral before they become homeless.

“Many families at risk of homelessness have high levels of personal debt, rely on emergency relief assistance and move between temporary forms of accommodation.

“The Australian Government is committed to trying to prevent homelessness and helping families gain the stability that is provided by a secure home environment.

“By continuing this successful program we will be able to continue to deliver significant improvements to the lives of the families at risk of homelessness.”