On 28 March 2013, the Commonwealth Government announced that the states and territories had matched its pledge for a transitional funding arrangement under the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness for 2013–14 — with a total of $320 million, which includes a $76 million development fund for new accommodation arrangements. Previously, funding for projects under the National Partnership on Homelessness had been due to expire on 30 June 2013. The Commonwealth, state and territory governments are continuing to negotiate in relation to funding beyond 2013–14. Read the communiqué of 28 March 2013 meeting of the COAG Select Council on Housing and Homelessness.
In a report released on 1 March 2013, the National Housing Supply Council has highlighted the impact of the shortage of low-cost housing on the more vulnerable in our population: households that are dependent on government incomes, households living at the lower end of the private rental market, and would-be homepurchasers with low and insecure incomes. The council stated:
A sustained shortfall in housing production relative to population growth (the main component of additional underlying demand) ‘trickles down’ through the distribution of income and wealth. It affects most the people who lose in the competition for available properties. These people may end up renting when they expected to become home owners, not forming a separate household because they cannot find anywhere suitable to live, needing government subsidies to obtain housing, pushing others — or being pushed — out of the private rental market and into social housing, living in unsuitable housing or overcrowded conditions, or becoming literally homeless. If the level of underproduction is substantial, it affects progressively more people who are relatively affluent. If underproduction varies across cities or States, then more ‘footloose’ economic activity, jobs and people will move from areas of deficit to areas where housing and workforce opportunities are in better supply. (page 127)
Read the report, Housing supply and affordability issues 2012–13.
On 3 March 2013, Mark Butler, MP, Commonwealth Minister for Housing and Homelessness, announced that the Australian Government will offer $159 million towards a transitional funding arrangement under a National Partnership on Homelessness for 2013–14, to be matched by states and territories. This will include funding for homelessness services and for capital projects to help people move from homelessness into housing.
A report released on 4 December 2012, State of Australian cities 2012, has found that the gap between population increase and housing supply is now the largest and most sustained in a century. The report was issued by the Department of Infrastructure and Transport Major Cities Unit. See the report.
The National Mental Health Commission released its first report card on mental health and suicide prevention on November 27. Its recommendations include that no-one should be discharged from hospitals, custodial care, mental health, or drug and alcohol-related treatment services into homelessness, and that access to stable and safe places to live must increase for people living with mental health issues. Read the report card.