Shelter WA has welcomed the release of the final report of the Commonwealth House of Representatives Committee Inquiry into Homelessness in Australia.
The Committee received 201 submissions and held five public hearings during the course of its inquiry.
We are pleased to see many of the recommendations made by Shelter WA and the WA Alliance to End Homelessness in our joint submission to the inquiry reflected in the 35 recommendations contained in the Final Report, including recommendations regarding:
- The development and implementation of a ten-year national strategy on homelessness.
- Increased federal and state funding for additional crisis, emergency and transitional accommodation, and associated support for people at risk of homelessness.
- An independent review of the role and adequacy of Commonwealth Rent Assistance.
- The development of a needs-based funding methodology to be applied to future funding agreements.
The Committee also recommended that the Australian Government incorporate ‘Housing First’ principles in funding agreements with state and territory governments and housing providers, although we believe more clarification is needed regarding how this will impact funding requirements.
Shelter WA welcomes many of the Committee’s recommendations around increasing investment into data collection and reporting, the need for which was strongly reflected in our submission. Robust data is essential to developing the strong evidence base critical to directing the work to end homelessness.
We are also pleased that the Final Report acknowledges the importance of place-based strategies to end homelessness and includes recommendations around increased consultation and work with local governments in this space. Investment will be needed to support this work.
Commonwealth funding is critical to improving housing outcomes across the housing spectrum, including outcomes for Australians who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Therefore, it is very disappointing the report contains no recommendations to increase direct Commonwealth investment in social and affordable housing. This is despite the Committee hearing extensive evidence of the significant current and projected need for social housing and its key role in addressing homelessness.
We also note concerns around recommendation 34 regarding national legislation imposing a ’three strikes’ eviction policy for social and affordable housing tenants. Housing policy should be based on evidence around what we know will work to end homelessness. The evidence received by the Committee does not support the imposition of ‘three strikes’ eviction policies.
Shelter WA looks forward to the Government’s response to the report which is due within six months.
The link to the Final Report can be found here.
The link to the joint submission from Shelter WA and the WA Alliance to End Homelessness is available here.