Vulnerable Canberrans continue to struggle with homelessness

The most vulnerable Canberrans are continuing to seek specialist homelessness services at one of the highest rates in Australia. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s (AIHW) third annual report into demand for specialist homeless services shows there are far too many Canberrans in desperate circumstances, Shadow Minister for Housing and Family and Community Services Nicole Lawder said today.

“The ACT has recorded the third highest rate of service due to homelessness behind the NT and Victoria, with 139 clients per 10 thousand people in 2013-14. In raw numbers that’s 5338 people seeking assistance from specialist homelessness services, 25 percent of them were aged between 15 and 25,” Ms Lawder said.

“While the ACT has demonstrated a small decrease in those seeking services, the result is still a tragedy for Canberra and we should be striving to lead the nation to reduce the number of people in crisis situations.

“The number of women and children fleeing domestic violence situations coupled with housing affordability has led to a four percent jump in demand for support Australia wide. In the ACT 15 percent of people reported domestic and family violence and 16 percent said inadequate or inappropriate dwelling was the main reason for seeking assistance.

“This close to Christmas it’s important to realise that many in our community are doing it very tough. More needs to be done, because it’s appalling to think we have thousands of Canberrans forced to seek the help of homelessness services,” Ms Lawder concluded.