The Australian Greens launched an ambitious national strategy today to eliminate homelessness by 2020.
Greens housing spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam announced the action plan - Leaving No One Behind - this morning after spending the night on the streets of Civic in Canberra for the St Vinnies CEO Sleep Out to raise funds and awareness for homelessness.
"On any given night more than 105,000 Australians are homeless - including 18,000 children under the age of 12. Any Labor or Coalition politician doing the CEO Sleep Out needs to put their money where their sleeping bag is," Senator Ludlam said.
"There is no reason why any Australian should be denied the basic human right to shelter, but one in 200 of us are. The number of homeless people in Australia grew by 17 per cent between 2006 and 2011, as Australia's overheated and dysfunctional housing market overwhelmed efforts to reduce homelessness.
"Our plan approaches homelessness on two levels. We must properly resource services and crisis accommodation for homeless people, and at the same time deliver affordable housing to eliminate homelessness in the longer term."
The Leaving No One Behind initiative will:
- Double the current funding for specialist homelessness services in Australia;
- Provide an emergency package to build an additional 7000 new homes by 2020 - enough to house every person currently sleeping without adequate shelter; and
- Include a 50 per cent target of fast build, modular or 'prefabricated' housing - which will be significantly faster and more affordable to build.
"In 2011-12, Australians were turned away from homelessness services 137,000 times because the resources just aren't there to meet demand. There are almost seven thousand Australians sleeping on the streets every night. Every winter homeless people in Australia die from exposure. We can't let this go on.
"Labor promised to halve homelessness by 2020, but the commitment has faded. Tony Abbott refuses to even commit to the target. The Greens have raised the bar, and introduced the strategy that could actually get it done."
For more information on The Greens Homelessness Action Plan - Leaving no one behind go to http://scott-ludlam.greensmps.org.au/homeless