Plan to end rough sleeping submitted to Australian parliament

The Australian Alliance to End Homelessness (AAEH) has submitted a 7-point policy plan to the federal parliamentary Inquiry into Homelessness in Australia in efforts to urgently end rough sleeping homelessness across the country.

Presented to The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs, the submission echoes the AAEH’s recent 7-point policy plan COVID-19 National Rough Sleeping Homelessness Pandemic Response Plan and calls for a health-informed approach to end homelessness.

Amongst the communities they work with, the AAEH estimates that more than 5,000 people who were experiencing or at risk of sleeping rough were temporarily sheltered in the first eight weeks of the COVID-19 health pandemic.

AAEH chief executive officer David Pearson says that throughout the COVID-19 response, we’ve done great work to keep rough sleepers safe and that now we need equal effort to get them into homes with the support they need to rebuild their lives.

“We’ve responded really well to the COVID-19 crisis, but we need action to make sure the recovery response doesn’t undermine those efforts. We’ve finally started to treat people experiencing homelessness with some dignity and compassion on a large scale. Let’s not stop now,” said Mr Pearson.

“The scale of homelessness in Australia is both preventable and solvable. This submission explores that and how we can end rough sleeping homelessness for good. There has never been a better time to end rough sleeping homelessness in Australia than right now.”

The AAEH says that temporarily sheltering people sleeping rough has been an important pandemic ‘crisis response’ but it will not be an effective ‘recovery response’ if we are to end homelessness in Australia. The submission calls for housing and support to solve this crisis – saying now is the time for Commonwealth and State Governments to step up with additional investment and supports.

“We need urgent action from governments – homelessness is a policy choice. It can and should be solved by government policy,” said AAEH chair Karyn Walsh.

“From the COVID-19 response, we’ve seen that we can end homelessness. We know what we need to do – and that’s to provide housing with support, or more simply a home for people sleeping rough as we recover from this health crisis.”

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