Meeting housing needs: media releases

Imperative state and territories match federal government’s homelessness funding

National Shelter media release — 18 March 2013

National Shelter has welcomed the Australian Government’s commitment to ending homelessness by providing up to $159 million to extend the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness for one year.

Chair of National Shelter, Adrian Pisarski, has applauded the federal government’s pledge, and called for the states and territories to provide the matching funding needed to maintain momentum to address homelessness.  

'The 2008 white paper on homelessness, The road home, created a renewed focus on ending homelessness.  

Many important initiatives have been delivered through the National Partnership on Homelessness, and it is imperative that we don’t lose that momentum.

'The funding will ensure services are able to continue to provide crucial services to Australians who are homeless and at risk of homelessness.’

For more information:

  • Adrian Pisarski, Chairperson: 0417 975 270
  • Kim Zoe Evans, Communications Officer: 0404 429 203

Sole parenting payment cuts could make families homeless

National Shelter media release — 5 March 2013

Housing policy peak National Shelter has warned that the changes to sole parenting payments will force more families into housing stress and homelessness.

National Shelter Chairperson Adrian Pisarski said that sole parent families face the double challenge of unaffordable rents and discrimination in the private rental market.  

‘Eroding the income of sole parents undermines their ability to house their children’, Mr Pisarski said. 

‘The Government’s white paper on homelessness in 2008, The road home, highlighted the increasing prevalence of families experiencing homelessness.

‘Australian Institute of Health and Welfare figures from March 2012 showed that more than three-quarters of all families seeking emergency shelter were sole parent families.  

‘The cuts to the incomes of sole parent families are a retrograde step in the battle to end homelessness.’    

Please see 2012 National Shelter policy priorities, Meeting housing challenges, for more policy recommendations.

For more information:

  • Emma Greenhalgh, National Shelter Project Manager: 0402 927 243
  • Adrian Pisarski, National Shelter Chairperson: 0417 975 270
  • Kim Zoe Evans, Communications Officer: 0404 429 203

National Shelter’s five principles for redeveloping social housing

National Shelter media release — 21 January 2013  

Housing policy peak National Shelter has challenged governments planning redevelopments of social housing sites to adopt five principles.

Chairperson of National Shelter Adrian Pisarski said that National Shelter’s support for redevelopment of social housing sites, such as Fitzroy, was conditional on:

  • A net gain in social housing stock   
  • Clear communication plans to minimise confusion and fear for tenants
  • Meaningful consultation with social housing tenants and the broader community throughout the process
  • Improving community facilities and retaining green space
  • Relocation options that respect tenants’ community of interest and give options for returning to the redeveloped site or moving only once.

'Redevelopment of social housing sites should result in an increase of homes', Mr Pisarski said.   

'With 175,000 Australian households waiting for social housing, it would be a huge lost opportunity to only maintain current levels.

'Change is always stressful.  Clear information is essential in situations like the redevelopment of Fitzroy and tenants must have an opportunity for input.  

'We acknowledge that public housing is operating at a deficit and innovation is necessary to achieve a more sustainable system.

'We urge Governments to consider the whole picture when redeveloping.'    

Please see 2012 National Shelter policy priorities, 'Meeting housing challenges', for more policy recommendations.

For more information:

  • Emma Greenhalgh, National Shelter Project Manager: 0402 927 243
  • Adrian Pisarski, National Shelter Chairperson: 0417 975 270
  • Kim Zoe Evans, Communications Officer: 0404 429 203

 

Festive season stress for low-income households

National Shelter media release — 7 December 2012

Housing peak National Shelter is alarmed but not surprised by the most recent figures on housing stress, showing low-income households will suffer more than ever this holiday season.

A report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Housing assistance in Australia 2012, revealed that in 2010, 17% of all households were in housing stress, jumping from 14% in 1995.

The report also revealed that the number of households in severe housing stress (spending more than 50% of household income on housing costs) has increased from 4.6% in 1995 to 5.5% in 2010.

These figures are consistent with the State of Australian Cities 2012 report, which shows households in the lowest income bracket have been particularly at risk of housing stress because the rent-to-income ratio has remained between 28% and 31%.

National Shelter Chairperson, Adrian Pisarski, said because of housing stress, homelessness in Australia is growing: ‘2,265,000 people, or 12.8% of the population, are currently living below the poverty line, including 600,000 children’, Mr Pisarski said.

‘This means that 1 in 8 people overall and 1 in 6 children are living below the poverty line, confirming the need for continued investment in affordable housing. Despite significant investment by the federal government in new affordable housing supply, continued market failure has increased the number of households in housing stress.’

National Shelter believes that state governments around the nation need to meet the federal government’s initiatives on affordable housing to stem the growing number of households in stress.

‘An alarming but not surprising jump in housing stress confirms what tenant advocates and housing providers have been reporting for some years’, Mr Pisarski said.

‘A lack of affordable housing has severe consequences for social and economic productivity’, Mr Pisarski said.

Contacts:
•    Adrian Pisarski, National Shelter Chairperson: 0417 975 270
•    Joanna Carson, Communications Officer: 0418 718 584

Challenge accepted! Housing peak thrilled at states’ NPA commitment

National Shelter media release — 16 November 2012

National housing peak National Shelter welcomes the commitment by states and territories to continue the National Partnership Agreement (NPA) on Homelessness for the next year.  

This commitment comes after today’s Select Council on Housing and Homelessness Ministers in Brisbane. 

The Select Council is comprised of federal minister Brendan O’Connor, and housing ministers from Australia’s states and territories.

Chair of National Shelter, Adrian Pisarski, says he is delighted with the result: ‘We are delighted to welcome the state and federal governments’ commitment to continue funding the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness for another year.’

‘This is significant given that earlier this week the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported on the rise in the numbers of homeless people across Australia.’

Adrian Pisarski also says that while significant investment has been made in affordable housing in recent years, it is important to commit to continued investment.

‘Despite record spending from stimulus and the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS), we fear the National Affordable Housing Agreement (NAHA) is overseeing the decline of affordable housing in Australia, particularly social housing’, Mr Pisarski said.

At their last meeting in August, the ministers wrote to the Standing Council on Federal Finance Relations indicating their interest in providing input into the review of the National Affordable Housing Agreement (NAHA).

National Shelter welcomes this agreement, and calls on ministers to commit to the future of affordable housing in Australia through a revised National Affordable Housing Agreement (NAHA) that includes:

  • All programs that deliver more affordable housing, such as Commonwealth Rent Assistance (CRA) and NRAS
  • An operational subsidy for affordable housing funded on a per-dwelling basis
  • An affordable housing growth fund allocated on a per-capita basis for the delivery of further affordable housing
  • A commitment to an additional 50,000 NRAS incentives
  • Joint funding from the Commonwealth and states/territories
  • Clear linkages with urban planning outcomes and taxation reform.

For more information, please see National Shelter’s housing priorities.

Contacts:
•    Emma Greenhalgh, National Shelter Project Manager: 0402 927 243
•    Adrian Pisarski, National Shelter Chairperson: 0417 975 270
•    Joanna Carson, Communications Officer: 0418 718 584