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Ending Homelessness- The Big Ideas

Current trends in policy and
community-led action
Professor Dave Adamson, OBE.
Compass Housing Services.
16 th March 2017, Newcastle City Hall
A global problem
• United Kingdom
• Doubled since 2010
• 30% increase in 2015
• Services cut by 45% 2009-2014
• 3,569 rough sleeping

• America
• 560,000 homeless
• 47,000 in LA alone
• 36,000 are children
Homelessness in Australia
• 105,237 homeless persons in 2011 Census
• 17% increase from 2006 Census
• 256,000 people supported by services in 2016
• 70,000 cases involving children
• 42,000 under 10 years old
• 41,780 lone young people seeking support (15-24 yo)
The cost of homelessness
• University of QLD study
Cost of homeless person $48,217 – $35,117 if housed (saves $13,100)

• Swinburne University study
Cost of health and justice services for homeless youth $17,868
Total for Australia = $747 million
Criminalisation of the homeless?
• Public space offences are offences directly related to homelessness
and include: being drunk in public; begging; using offensive language;
littering; minor theft; failure to vote; public transport offences; and
some parking or driving offences where the person is homeless or
sleeping in their car at the time of the offences.
• Melbourne street clearances
• Hostile Architecture
Policy Trends: the great uncertainty
• National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness (NPAH)
• Abolition of National Affordable Housing Agreement (NAHA)?
• De-funding of peak bodies 2015
• Defunding of specific programs.
• Lack of a National Housing Strategy.
• No overarching national homelessness eradication target.
The ’community’ response
• Proliferation of community action
• Faith groups
• National and local charities
• Individual responses
• Orange Sky Laundry
• Side Cuts Barbers
• Help Locker
• Pets in the Park
Eradicate or service homelessness?

• Balance of providing services and support to current homeless and a
focus on eradicating homelessness

• Are we letting government off the hook?

• Can we shift at community level to homelessness eradication rather
than servicing homelessness.