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homelessness

Sharp rise in youth homelessness shatters stereotypes

The number of Australians who were homeless on census night increased by 17% to 105,237 in the five years to August 2011. When adjusted for population growth, the increase the increase is still worryingly high, at around 8%. It’s clear we need a stronger commitment to address this significant social issue.

Definition of homelessness changes but problems remain

According to the best estimates at the time, almost 105,000 Australians were homeless on census night in August 2006. This promoted then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to make the ambitious commitment to accommodate all people sleeping rough and halving the number of homeless in Australia by 2020.

We cannot become complacent on children's rights

 As Australians, our home is known as the 'lucky country'. We learnt recently that five of Australia's cities are among the most liveable in the world. Geelong Advertiser readers will know that it’s only a matter of time until Geelong finds its way onto that list.

But not everyone in the world is so lucky.

There’s more to homelessness than ‘rooflessness’

 

It’s fair to say that homelessness is at crisis point in Australia. According to the 2006 census, almost 105,000 Australians were homeless on any given night.

And the problem clearly hasn’t disappeared over the past six years, with more than 91,000 Australians seeking assistance from specialist homeless services in the three months to September 2011. One in five of those people were aged under ten.

Security, peace, dignity? The role of Victorian human rights laws

Phil* became homeless after his partner died and his house was repossessed.  He cycled through shelters and crisis accommodation, dangerous rooming houses, and the couches of friends and families.

After several months, Phil hit the jackpot and was accepted into transitional housing.  As the name suggests, transitional housing is short- to medium-term housing to assist people transition from homelessness into long-term housing.

Phil was excited to move into the house.  On the day he moved in, he was handed a lease, a set of keys and a 120-day eviction notice.  ‘It’s just how we ensure that we can evict you when we need to,’ explained his housing worker.

Forget your coins, we want change: begging should not be a crime

The criminal offence of begging should be abolished.

Criminalising begging is tantamount to criminalising poverty. It perpetuates, rather than alleviates, the marginalisation and disadvantage experienced by people who beg. It also violates the fundamental human rights of some of the most vulnerable in our society.

Poverty goes begging for change

On the streets of Geelong and Melbourne, and around the world, we often feel uncomfortable when people ask us for money.

It seems as though the number of people begging on our streets is increasing, and I'm sure many of us struggle to know how to respond to people we don't know asking us for money.

It would surprise many of us to learn that begging is a crime in Victoria, and that people can be imprisoned for up to two years if found guilty.

Home for Christmas? Not everyone is so lucky

As we prepare to share Christmas with our families, we're thankful that we have a roof over our head, food on our table, and family and friends to share the festive season with. Not everyone in our community is so lucky.

Australia needs a rights-based homelessness act

Background

The Federal Government’s White Paper on Homelessness, The Road Home: A National Approach to Reducing Homelessness (White Paper), proposed the introduction of new legislation that would “underpin the national response to homelessness, setting standards to deliver the best quality services possible”.

In June 2009, the Minister for Housing referred the inquiry into homelessness legislation to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Family, Community, Housing and Youth (Committee). The Committee’s terms of reference were to inquire into and report on the content of homelessness legislation.

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