Homelessness on the Fleurieu Peninsula is a real issue and community leaders want to do something about it

SOLUTION: Community leaders at the Christian Gospel Centre in Victor Harbor discussed what could be done to solve the issue of homelessness.
SOLUTION: Community leaders at the Christian Gospel Centre in Victor Harbor discussed what could be done to solve the issue of homelessness.

There are a group of people who are trying hard to make a difference in the community. The Fleurieu Community Foundation, church leaders, state government representative, local government representative, Whalers Peninsula Housing and Rotary all met to discuss the homeless issue and how it can be solved.

Stakeholders gathered at the Christian Gospel Centre and Pastor of the Christian Gospel Centre Lew Saunders said homelessness or risk of homelessness could shift in numbers from day to day. 

“In March 2014 the Southern Fleurieu Housing Round Table (SFHRT) conducted a survey across the Fleurieu region and 37 agencies participated in the survey. There were 144 people that did not have a home, including 56 children under 13 years, 12 per cent of the adults received a wage and 47 per cent of adults were below 40 years of age,” Lew said.

“Whilst no accurate figures can ever be accurately assessed the latest estimates reveal more than 116,000 people were experiencing homelessness in Australia on Census night, 2016, representing 50 homeless persons for every 10,000 people. Only 6 per cent of these are viewed as the ‘Visible’ homeless – the rest are hidden from view and are easily forgotten about.”

Lew said not everybody chose to be homeless.

“Anybody can be just two steps away from being homeless. This can be a result of domestic violence, addictions, physical abuse, lack of housing that is affordable, poverty, tenancy blacklist, sexual discrimination or any other forms of discrimination, marriage break up, service system failures, stigma or rent in arrears,” he said.

The Southern Fleurieu Housing Round Table is currently in the process of developing a business plan to address this need. 

Member for Finniss David Basham said the Marshall Government had signed on to the new National Housing and Homeless Agreement (NHHA).

“The NHHA maintains the Commonwealth’s current funding of $1.3 billion a year under the National Affordable Housing Specific Purpose Payment, and $375 million over the next three years for front line services which help Australians who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless,” he said.

Mr Basham said in the 2018-19 State Budget the Marshall Government announced $9.6 million per year towards homelessness funding to complement the Commonwealth’s contribution in South Australia of $108 million. “This includes funding for homelessness prevention programs, crisis response programs and services which support homeless people back into mainstream housing, training and employment.”