Homelessness is the most critical form of poverty and the devastating situations for those experiencing it. Without a home, most forms of social participation are almost impossible; and any extended period of homelessness can lead to chronic physical and mental health problems.
In NSW, on Census night 2011, over 28,000 people were homeless. This was a 27% increase over the previous 5 years (some of which is due to changed data definitions).
While a pathway into homelessness is driven by varying factors – family violence, mental illness, unemployment, poverty – without the option of affordable and secure housing, homelessness becomes far more likely for many.
NSW has recently undertaken a major reform of its specialist homelessness services, Going Home Staying Home, which will be evaluated as it becomes fully implemented.
Shelter and homelessness
There are a number of bodies in NSW who represent specialist homelessness services for particular population groups. Shelter does not try to duplicate this representation and support for the sector. Rather, it focuses its attention on the impact of both the market and the services available on people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness themselves.
Recently we have produced reports and made submissions on:
- The Crisis Accommodation Program in NSW
- What housing issues contribute to homelessness
- Future direction for specialist homelessness services
- service standards for Specialist Homelessness Services