The theme for this year’s Homelessness Week, “It’s time to End Homelessness”, is a very real issue for the St Vincent de Paul Society’s members, volunteers and staff – and the people the charity assists.
“All over the country, requests for assistance are increasing and we are seeing people who have previously never sought our help,” Vinnies national president Mark Gaetani said.
“More and more people are seeking emergency relief to cover the basics, such as food vouchers, while they prioritise accommodation costs over other essentials. These are choices Australians should not have to make.”
The society said it is acutely aware of the extra pressures the cost of living and the growing housing crisis is placing on people, increasing their risk of homelessness. Many more people are contacting Vinnies for help with rental arrears to avoid eviction. Others are couch surfing, living in tents and caravan parks, or forced to seek emergency accommodation.
The society continues to help with rental and accommodation options. Today’s reality is that people in crisis accommodation are on an endless cycle, forced to transition from one form of temporary accommodation to another simply because there are too few affordable and permanent housing options.
“With more than 122,000 people homeless each night, we need all governments to act now,” Mr Gaetani said.
“According to Homelessness Australia up to half of those seeking assistance do so because of housing or finances, including rent. It is time to end homelessness in this country.
“Charities cannot carry the burden of homelessness on their own. Today the Society is finding it increasingly difficult to meet the demand. More people are in need, but our resources cannot meet this stretch which means fewer people can be assisted.”
Time to end homelessness (St Vincent de Paul Society)