The Road Home
Pamela Foster | Chairperson, Homelessness Australia
There’s much to welcome in the White targets to be achieved by 2013.
Paper’s holistic national response to These are admirable goals that – with
the challenge of homelessness. The resources, cooperation and commitment
homelessness support sector has long – are also achievable. However, it is
advocated for key reforms announced in as yet unclear how progress will be
the package, including better integration measured at the state, territory or federal
of policy and service approaches levels. Data for the several of the 2013
among varied Commonwealth, State goals appears not to be readily available.
and Territory portfolios and between As well, the White Paper questions the
homelessness specific services and usefulness of the existing evidence
other social services – a key aim of the base on homelessness and proposes
White Paper reforms. a new national homelessness research
strategy which will include changes to the
Clearly the The White Paper sets out clear, ambitious SAAP National Data Collection process.
commitment to targets. These include the headline goals
of halving homelessness and offering
Establishing clear, nationally uniform
guidelines for progress measurement at
halve homelessness accommodation to all rough sleepers the state/territory and Federal levels is a
who need it by 2020. This equates to a matter of priority, as unclear evaluation
will not be possible reduction in primary homelessness of is likely to disguise our true progress
750 to 1000 people per year for each of toward the White Paper’s goals.
without a well the five years to 2013.
resourced specialist Interim national targets to 2013 include a:
Funding arrangements under the White
Paper have changed dramatically.
homelessness The homelessness response will now
• 20 per cent reduction in overall be delivered by states and territories
sector. homelessness through the National Affordable Housing
Agreement (NAHA). The NAHA will
• 25 per cent reduction in primary combine the base funding for SAAP, as
homelessness well as funding for public, community
and other housing programs previously
• 25 per cent reduction in the number funded under the Commonwealth State
of people seeking assistance from Housing Agreement (CSHA).
specialist homelessness services
more than three times a year There are also ‘partnership payments’
(presumably this is assumed to under the NAHA. These tie increases