Mission Australia welcomes the NSW Government’s increased investment in social and affordable housing and the funding boost for Specialist Homelessness Services announced in today’s state budget.

The national housing and community services provider said the $5.1 billion in funding for 8,400 social homes and the $450 million for essential worker housing will help meet the increasing need for safe and affordable housing.

Mission Australia Executive, Ben Carblis said, “the demand for new social housing in NSW has never been greater and the waitlist continues to grow.

“Any funding that helps to ensure those who are most vulnerable in our communities are safely housed is welcome and we hope this is just the start of continued investment in new social homes.”

“We welcome the $527 million investment in homelessness services and the $245.6 million investment in domestic and family violence support services and prevention programs. This investment acknowledges the growing demand for assistance across the state as we, and our sector, work to support people during Australia’s housing and homelessness emergency,” Mr Carblis said.

“As one of Australia’s largest community housing and community services providers, our frontline workers are reporting an increase in people accessing our homelessness and emergency relief services,” Mr Carblis said.

“There is a desperate need in the community and we’re seeing a cohort that includes people who are working fulltime and women and children escaping violence seeking support,” he added.

Mission Australia notes the announcement of the Homelessness Innovation Fund and urges the fund to focus on early intervention and prevention to ensure people at risk of homelessness are supported to remain safely housed.

While the funding for mental health initiatives is welcome, Mission Australia emphasised the need for more funding towards prevention and early intervention services.

“We call for greater investment in early intervention and prevention programs so frontline staff can focus on helping people avoid homelessness and respond earlier with wrap-around supports to address their individual challenges and help them to stay housed and thrive,” Mr Carblis said.

“While the confirmation of $66.9 million for the continuation of Youth on Track and other diversion programs are welcome, much more investment is needed to properly support disadvantaged young people on their path towards brighter futures. Addressing social exclusion and disadvantage should also be a priority to prevent the over-representation of particular groups of young people in the youth justice system.”

Mr Carblis continued, “Mission Australia would like to see a portion of the social housing funding earmarked for Youth Foyers and other models of supported housing targeted towards people who are vulnerable to homelessness.

“We had called on the government to invest in 10 Youth Foyers by 2030 to provide housing, education and employment opportunities for young people who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness,” Mr Carblis said.

“Youth Foyers are a proven solution to combat youth homelessness and break cycles of disadvantage, and state funding would allow us to build more in NSW,” he added.

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