Australia’s housing system is broken and it needs to be fixed. This is the premise behind the new national campaign ‘Everybody’s Home’. This initiative which is being supported by housing and homelessness organisations throughout Australia, including the Mercy Foundation, is asking for 5 key things. These are:
- Support for first home buyers
- A national housing strategy
- A better deal for renters
- Immediate relief for Australians in chronic rental stress
- A plan to end homelessness by 2030
I was pleased to be able to be in Canberra on Tuesday 20 March at the National press Club for the launch of the campaign. Professor Julian Disney and the campaign co-ordinator, Kate Colvin, spoke at the event. Professor Disney positioned homelessness and housing insecurity where it belongs – within a framework of growing inequality and poverty.
Here at the Mercy Foundation, we agree with that analysis. For too long there has been a growing public and media understanding that anyone who becomes homeless has ‘something wrong with them’. We call this, pathologising people experiencing homelessness. Whilst, yes there are a group of people who experience homelessness who have additional problems to contend with, such us mental health problems, illness, disability, addictions or brain injuries, the vast majority of Australians who live in housing insecurity or homelessness do not. This issue is not a personal problem, it is a systemic and structural failure by our society to ensure there is adequate affordable housing for all our citizens.
I invite everyone reading this newsletter to go the website for the Everybody’s Home campaign to support it by signing the petition and signing up to the campaign. The only way we will get real structural change in our housing systems in Australia is by all our governments understanding that the majority of Australians are concerned about this issue. Go to http://everybodyshome.com.au/ now.