The solution to ending homelessness is always permanent affordable housing. A small number of people who experience homelessness long term and on the streets will likely need permanent supportive housing. However, most people simply need housing to end their homelessness.
Only 7% of all people counted as homeless in Australia are ‘literally’ living on the streets? This represents no more than 8,200 people. We can and should end street homelessness in Australia. Our problem is solvable.
The Mercy Foundation has a special interest and content expertise in the issue of ending homelessness, better understanding all aspects of homelessness as well as its solutions. We believe the solutions lie in structural and systemic change as well as in effective housing and support responses. The Mercy Foundation is working with other organisations across Australia to support evidence based solutions to end homelessness for individuals and families who are experiencing it.
Addressing the root causes of poverty and issues of affordable housing are important structural factors that will solve homelessness for many Australians. When we conceptualise the notion of ‘ending homelessness’ this is what it will look like:
- No Australian will experience long term (or chronic) homelessness.
- Individuals or families in a housing crisis will have their homelessness prevented.
- If an instance of homelessness cannot be prevented, individuals and families will receive immediate crisis services and temporary accommodation and be re-housed as quickly as possible (Rapid Re-housing).
- Anyone who experiences homelessness will be assisted into stable, affordable, permanent housing as quickly as possible (Housing First). If they also need support services to help sustain that housing, this will be available (Permanent Supportive Housing).
- Housing First and Rapid Re-Housing will become ‘business as usual’ responses for homelessness in Australia.
- There will be an adequate supply of ‘permanent supportive housing’ options for the small number of people with significant disability, health or behavioural problems who require ongoing support to sustain housing.