Salvos fear homelessness on increase due to inflation and housing stress
Calls this Homelessness Week to recognise how easy it is to lose a home – and how hard it is to find another
The Salvation Army is urging Australians this Homelessness Week to accept there isn’t a type of person who finds themselves homeless – it can and does happen to anyone.
In 2021, 11,604 Australians identified their accommodation as an ‘improvised home, tent or sleeping out’, with those sleeping rough just 7% of the total number of people experiencing homelessness.
“It seems there is a belief out there that homelessness is something that happens to ‘other’ people, but I see people from all walks of life who have found themselves without accommodation,” says Dr Jed Donohue, The Salvation Army’s General Manager of Homelessness. “It doesn’t take much to lose a home, just unfortunate circumstances that once in play, can’t be easily reversed.”
Dr Donohue says he is concerned that the current economic climate and a chronic lack of assessable and affordable accommodation is only going to see the homelessness problem in this country increase.
“We are seeing more people in rural areas seeking our help because there simply aren’t enough places up for rent and, if they are, they are unaffordable. Moving elsewhere doesn’t help – it is a growing problem everywhere.”
The Salvation Army recognises that while ordinary Australians who have lost jobs, have to care for a loved one or can no longer afford their rent or mortgage is increasing, disadvantaged community members such as women fleeing domestic violence, veterans, the mentally ill and those over 55 remain vulnerable.
For example, according to Dr Donohue, “each year an estimated 7,690 women return to perpetrators because they have nowhere to go, and an estimated 9,120 women become homeless.”
Last year (2021) the Salvos:
- Assisted over 95,000 people who were homeless
- Provided over 300,000 sessions of care to people
- Provided 887,419 crisis beds
- Provided 1,774,838 meals
Dr Donohue says those who wish to help the Salvos can do so by donating time and/or money however, small efforts can have big impact.
“Everyone can help the situation through simple actions such as treating those impacted by homelessness with dignity and respect and advocating for their rights. The fact is that today, homelessness is closer than many think and could well affect someone you know and love.”