Figures released today show two thirds of housing and homelessness services in Australia are struggling to meet growing demand.
Greens housing spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam said the findings by ACOSS confirm the need for The Greens' one billion dollar initiative to eliminate homelessness in Australia - Leaving No-one Behind.
"In 2011-12, Australians were turned away from homelessness services 137,000 times because the resources aren't there to meet demand. Today ACOSS reported there has been a five per cent increase in the number of people being turned away from housing agencies that were already under enormous strain, and that high rents in capital cities are a major factor pushing people into homelessness.
"Leaving No-one Behind includes the immediate doubling of Federal funding for homelessness services and the construction of 7000 new homes for the homeless.
"In Western Australia, the rate of homelessness is 33 per cent worse than the state with the lowest homelessness rate. And one in every ten homeless person in Western Australia is sleeping rough - the worst rate in Australia.
"With seven thousand Australians sleeping rough every night the need for immediate action is clear, but we also need long term solutions to the affordable housing crisis.
"With the median weekly rent in most major Australian cities pushing $500 - and worse in some regional towns - reports of a housing market ‘recovery' are a disaster for the one third of Australians who don't own a home. As housing becomes less and less affordable, the proportion of Australians for whom home ownership is a distant mirage will grow and grow.
"The Greens' Convert-To-Rent program will convert thousands of empty properties across Australia into renovated low-cost rentals, and our ‘Transforming Perth' report is an urban planning reform blueprint for boosting housing supply while avoiding the severe financial and environmental costs of urban sprawl - its planning principles could be applied in any major Australian city.
"The number of homeless people in Australia grew by almost one sixth between the 2006 and 2011 census. There are now more than 105,000 homeless Australians - people struggling to live with security and dignity. They deserve better."
Leaving No-one Behind: http://greensmps.org.au/homeless
Convert To Rent: http://greens.org.au/files/Convert_to_rent.pdf
Transforming Perth: http://greenswa.net.au/transformingperth
Senator Ludlam's recent speech on homelessness: http://greensmps.org.au/content/speeches-parliament/homelessness-and-hou...