Homeless Persons’ Week: Vinnies calls for housing justice


The St Vincent de Paul Society has marked National Homeless Persons’ Week 2011 (1 to 7 August) by drawing attention to the people who are locked out of Australian society, including the members of Australia’s First Peoples.

Chief Executive Dr John Falzon said while welcoming the Federal Government’s genuine commitment to halve the rate of homelessness and offer supported accommodation to all those who seek it by 2020, the St Vincent de Paul Society  also acknowledges that as a nation, Australia cannot eliminate homelessness without investment in social housing.

"We remain deeply concerned about the inadequacy of social security benefits, especially the Newstart Allowance. Being forced to survive on $34 a day increases a person’s vulnerability to homelessness," Dr Falzon said.

"We want to remember the high proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People who experience homelessness in Australia.

"It is a grave injustice that the First Peoples of this land represented 20 per cent of persons who required specialist homelessness services in 2009/10. This is a massive over-representation."

National President Anthony Thornton said the St Vincent de Paul Society is grateful for the community support it has received in its efforts to address homelessness in Australia.

"The people who are locked out of Australian society are precisely the people for whom we are here," Mr Thornton said.

"People are pushed into homelessness because of domestic violence, poverty and social inequality. As a prosperous nation, we should at least ensure that all people are given the basic right to housing.

"This would provide the safe and secure base from which together we can address other problems."
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