WE had a more egalitarian society in Australia …
FROM THE COMMENTS …
But this has been largely eroded by Liberal policies … written to benefit the Top End of Town … and their aspirants
… high immigration and competition for housing escalating the cost of housing … the consequences of which are spelt out in this article, and in NSW led to …
-the sell off of Our Public Housing Estates to developers for private redevelopment
-job cuts disproportionately affecting women esp. on the entry level of public service; more readily disposed of
.later to restore the positions with replacements
.rendering some former public servants homeless
WHERE was the accountability?
Another commentator questioned that it was ‘Australia’s fault’ … that the responsibility shifts from the local to the Federal Government …
Well yes, it does because of government policies … and the ramifications
COULD it be that the violent behaviour is exacerbated by policies whereby:
-employees including professionals are subject to efficiencies, restructuring
.some workers subject to as many as 3 or more job restructures!
.redundancies, job cuts ensue
–the lowest wages growth; insecure work
-with little funds left after the cost of housing
One day, women wake up and realise they can’t live like that anymore
By Jenny Smith
9 AUGUST 2019
You’re a young mum with three kids. The abuse from your partner is getting worse. One day you wake up and you realise you can’t live like this anymore and neither can your kids.
You ask for help at your local specialist homelessness service, but all the crisis accommodation is full and their hands are tied. The only emergency option left is a seedy motel.
You don’t have cooking facilities for meals. You don’t have a car or money for public transport, but even if you did, you’re an hour’s drive from the kids’ school and daycare.
This is a picture we should not be seeing, but still do, all too often. The reality is that Australia is failing women such as this who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Our mothers, our daughters, our sisters, our aunties. These are the women who care for us throughout our lives, but too many of them are being let down by the system when they need support the most.
Last year, specialist homelessness services nationally assisted 121,100 clients who had experienced domestic and family violence. This means family violence is a reality for more than four out of 10 clients.
This number was driven upwards by increases in Victoria and New South Wales.
In New South Wales the number of clients who had experienced family violence rose by 4 per cent to 26,630. In Victoria the same number grew by 13 per cent to 56,724. Almost all of the adults were female and more than a third were under 18.
Many younger women are also facing homelessness, fleeing family situations that are unsafe or leaving out-of-home care straight into homelessness.
Too often they don’t have any option other than a rooming house or to take a room where the rent is cheap, but sex is part of the deal. This is not a Hollywood movie about overcoming adversity, where we all get to enjoy the heartwarming happy ending. This is the grim reality for far too many women in this country.
Of those nationally who experienced family violence and were already homeless but sought help from homelessness services, just over half were still homeless at the end of the process. It’s hard to accept. More than half.
While the bulk of women asking for help were aged 25 to 34, we also know that homelessness is affecting women across the life cycle.
After years of perhaps caring for children or other family members, being paid less than men when working and inevitably not having the safety net of decent superannuation, women over 55 make up the fastest growing demographic group experiencing homeless.
‘They can be safe again’: Wayside Chapel seeks to raise $1.2 million as more homeless women seek help
Every day we read the headlines in the newspaper about the heat of rental markets in the big cities, especially Sydney and Melbourne. Social security payments simply do not represent any sort of “safety net” at any level in relation to costs of living, especially housing.
Rental markets are mostly unaffordable to those on middle-incomes, let alone someone on Newstart or receiving single parenting payments. Indeed, current campaigns begging the federal government to lift Newstart (at the very least) above the poverty line, are both urgent and extremely timely.
Motels and crisis accommodation are packed to the rafters due to bottlenecks in the system, because there’s nowhere to move on to. This does not count as giving women and children a home.
Homelessness is not just rooflessness.
Living in a motel or accommodation designed for a short stay does not alleviate the trauma to your kids of being without a home. Not being able to cook a meal, having to move far away from your supports, friends and family, your kids’ school and their mates, these are the realities of what Australian women are facing when they end up without a home.
Without national strategy and supporting state and territory-based strategies to end homelessness, this problem will not get better.
*It will continue to get worse at a faster rate as the population increases, inflation soars and property markets continue to be impenetrable.
*The cornerstone of these strategies must be more social housing. We cannot house people without homes. Homes that are safe, appropriate and affordable.
*At the intersection of poverty and domestic violence is the almost inevitable outcome of homelessness. The stark reality is that we are failing women and now, during National Homelessness Week, we need to raise our voices and say this is not okay on any level, whether human, economic, political or otherwise.
Jenny Smith is CEO at Council to Homeless Persons