Mission Australia’s Homelessness Impact Report reveals rising demand for services
Mission Australia’s newest report A Safe Place to Call Home - Mission Australia’s Homelessness and Stable Housing Impact Report 2023 reveals that demand is rising for the charity’s homelessness and housing services, spurring calls for urgent action to end Australia’s homelessness and housing emergency.
The report shows a 26% increase in demand for Mission Australia’s homelessness services over the past three years, and a 50% increase in people who are seeking help after they’ve become homeless rather than when they are at risk.
Mission Australia’s CEO Sharon Callister says: “Our frontline staff are seeing an influx of people seeking help from our homelessness services, and they’re telling us the housing situation is the worst they’ve ever seen it. Australia needs to be doing so much more to be on the front foot to prevent and end homelessness in our country, instead of band-aid crisis solutions.”
The report demonstrates that homelessness can be ended if the right supports, services and housing are in place, and if there is a focus on prevention. Of the people who approached Mission Australia’s services before they became homeless, 94% were supported to remain living in their home and avoid homelessness.
The professional and caring help provided by Mission Australia’s services meant eight in 10 people (81%) improved their wellbeing through their time with the services, and nine in 10 (89%) made progress with their goals, such as education and employment.
The longer Mission Australia’s staff were able to provide support to people experiencing homelessness, the more likely those people were to exit homelessness. However, efforts to find long-term housing for people once they become homeless are severely constrained by the lack of affordable housing available right across the country. Mission Australia and other homelessness services are only able to find a secure long-term home for a third (31%) of people experiencing homelessness.
The findings come as more people needing help are being turned away from homelessness services across the country, mainly because there was no accommodation available. On average, 300 requests for help are turned away every day (AIHW 2022).
In response to the findings, Mission Australia is calling on governments for greater investment in homelessness prevention and support services, and for investment in one million new social and affordable homes.
Ms Callister says: “Without a significant boost of social and affordable housing across the country, homelessness cannot be eradicated. Mission Australia is calling on governments for greater investment to build the one million new social and affordable homes that will be needed over the next 20 years to ensure that everyone who seeks help is connected to a safe place to call home.
“We also need far more investment in homelessness services, particularly those focused on prevention, and to extend the length of service contracts. This would enable our incredibly compassionate and skilled frontline staff to meet the increasing demand and help everyone who needs it.”
Mission Australia’s first Homelessness Impact Report summarises evidence that the charity has gathered from their homelessness and housing support services over three years.
Mission Australia is one of Australia’s largest charities with more than 160 years of practical and proven experience working with Australians in need. The Christian homelessness charity has more than 2,200 staff and 465 programs and services (including 73 homelessness and housing services), and invests in housing, services and programs to help end homelessness in Australia and ensure people and communities in need can thrive.
Read the report
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