Increases in income support, more social housing and a boost to mental health funding are necessary to address the “out of control” demand for homelessness assistance, according to Catholic Social Services Australia.
Data released this week by Homelessness Australia showed the number of Australians with mental health issues seeking homelessness assistance has doubled over the past 10 years. The data revealed that between 2019-2020, more than 88,300 people with mental health issues sought homelessness assistance. This is up from 44,700 in 2011-12.
Catholic Social Services Australia chair Francis Sullivan said the figures were “dreadful” and called on federal and state governments to increase income support, more social housing and boost to mental health funding.
“These figures show just how dire the situation is for some of our most vulnerable and disadvantage citizens,” Mr Sullivan said.
“Thousands of people across Australia either can’t afford or can’t access mental health care privately or through Medicare or hospitals. Layered on top of this is the acute shortage of long-term affordable housing and easy accessible mental health support.
“Together, these two major community failings, destine thousands of Australians to miss out on the very basic expectation of a safe and secure roof over their heads,” Mr Sullivan said.
He said the doubling of demand for homelessness services is indicative of the way in which the disadvantaged and marginalised in the community are forced to live.