New Government laws put funding for frontline ACT homelessness services at risk.
As a provider of housing and homelessness services in the ACT, Northside Community Service joins with our ACT and national colleagues in expressing significant concern with the Treasury Laws Amendment (National Housing and Homelessness Agreement) Bill 2017 recently introduced into Federal Parliament.
In May, Northside welcomed the Government’s decision to maintain homelessness funding through the development of the National Housing and Homelessness Agreement (NHHA). However we are disappointed to see the Treasury Laws Amendment Bill introduced, as it fails to guarantee urgently needed resources for critical frontline homelessness services in the ACT.
The Bill will enable the Commonwealth to impose significant requirements on the use of funds from any future housing and homelessness agreement. It also enables them to withhold funding subject to the delivery of outcomes related to reducing homelessness and increasing social housing. This is in the context of there being no National Affordable Housing Strategy and no increased investment from the Commonwealth to increase social housing or address homelessness.
“In effect it gives the Federal Government the power to cut funding to homelessness services in the ACT if the Territory does not meet Federal demands to increase social housing supply,” said Kate Cvetanovski, Executive Director Community Services with Northside Community Service.
“Community service organisations such as Northside have been working closely with the ACT Government to explore innovative solutions to the challenging issues around affordable housing and homelessness. It is disappointing that the Federal Government seems to be determined to do the opposite by withholding funding if the ACT does not meet arbitrary targets that do not reflect the situation on the ground,” said Ms. Cvetanovski.
Northside stands with Homelessness Australia and National Shelter in calling on the Federal Government to examine the transparency and accountability of the NHHA and to provide more investment into social and affordable housing so that organisations like Northside can work to end homelessness through the provision of safe, permanent and affordable housing for the people who need it the most.
For enquiries, please contact:
(02) 6257 2255