THE national goal of halving homelessness by 2020 is unlikely to be achieved if state and federal governments fail to renew an historic funding agreement that is running out, community leaders say.
They fear the homeless will be victims of rancorous relations between the federal government and non-Labor states demonstrated in negotiations over the National Disability Insurance Scheme, an issue with much wider community support.
About 180 projects nationally – 80 in NSW – have been funded by the commonwealth and states under the $1.1 billion National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness. The agreement, signed by the states, was the centrepiece of the Rudd government’s commitment to halve homelessness by 2020.
But the four-year funding agreement runs out on June 30 next year and community leaders have failed to get assurances of an extension. Some organisations have been told by state officials their projects will not be re-funded and plan to close them this year or early next year.
The chief executive officer of Homelessness NSW, Gary Moore, said: ”Unless there’s new money the goal of halving homelessness by 2020 has Buckley’s. Four years [funding] is not long enough.”
The only possible way the goal might be achieved would be if the Australian Bureau of Statistics changed the definition of homelessness, a process under consideration, he said.
State and federal government concerns over budget deficits and the wrangling over the NDIS have given advocates for the homeless cause for pessimism.
”We are anxious seeing the fraught negotiations over the NDIS that an issue like homelessness without such broad-based support won’t be resolved,” said the chief executive officer of the Northern Rivers Social Development Council, Tony Davies.
The chief executive of Marist Youth Care, Cate Sydes, said a $2 million project to help homeless youth in the Nepean region would be closed at the end of December after state officials informed her the three-year contract would not be extended.
And the Samaritans Foundation, with a $1.8 million grant to provide tenancy support, has been told the service would have to finish by June 2013.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.