Homelessness Presentation Flatau 2008

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Information about Homelessness Presentation Flatau 2008
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Published on December 22, 2008

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Addressing Homelessness in Western Australia : Paul Flatau Murdoch University Addressing Homelessness in Western Australia Outline : Outline Ends & means Defining ‘housing need’ and ‘homelessness’ Housing need and homelessness in WA Causes and consequences of homelessness The policy response Ends and Means : Ends and Means As a community we should aim to ensure that: All have a right to adequate, safe and secure shelter Support services are provided to those in need to enable them to participate in everyday community life on equal terms with others Our ability to achieve our ends is limited by the resources we apply to meet the problem and how effective is the program and service response Categories of Housing Need : Categories of Housing Need Housing Need At Risk of Homelessness Hidden Homelessness Marginal Housing Unsafe Environments Homelessness The taxonomy does not rely on mutually exclusive categories (e.g. unsafe environments can exist in a range of housing circumstances) Relative homelessness Categories of Housing Need : Categories of Housing Need Housing Need At Risk of Homelessness Hidden Homelessness Marginal Housing Unsafe Environments Homelessness Primary homelessness (without shelter) Crisis and emergency accommodation (no independent shelter) Those without a home of their own who stay, on a temporary basis, with relatives, friends and relatives – often moving around Short-term boarding/lodging house and caravan accommodation with no security of tenure and very poor living conditions Categories of Housing Need : Categories of Housing Need Housing Need At Risk of Homelessness Hidden Homelessness Marginal Housing Unsafe Environments Homelessness Examples: Public and private tenants who face possible eviction with little prospect of being able to gain alternative accommodation Those with disabilities and mental and physical health conditions with grossly inadequate support structures Prisoners leaving jail with few resources and limited or no accommodation options Categories of Housing Need : Categories of Housing Need Housing Need Marginal Housing Overcrowding Inadequate conditions and/or insecurity of tenure in long-term caravan park and boarding house environments Housing cost stress for those in low net wealth poverty Marginal housing refers to inadequate accommodation given community standards Poor dwelling conditions (major structural repairs required) and/or inadequate connections to essential services (water, electricity and sewerage) Inappropriate dwellings and/or support levels given the special needs of the person and household (disabilities, mental and physical health, frailty) Housing Need in WA : Housing Need in WA Hidden Homelessness Homelessness 2000-4000 primary homeless (depending on the sources used) 600-650 adults (18 & over) + accompanying children (around 400) receiving accommodation support in SAAP each night– Aboriginal people overrepresented. Up to 7500 temporary stays in homes 2000 people in boarding houses 2500 people living in caravan parks Hidden + Marginal + Adequate Housing Need in WA : Housing Need in WA Marginal Housing Overcrowding (very high in WA and NT) – 33% of Indigenous families in overcrowded accommodation relative to 3% in the WA non-Indigenous population Inadequate dwelling conditions: Around 1/4 to 1/3 of Indigenous community household dwellings require major structural repairs - Connections to essential services: Up to 8 per cent of Indigenous community housing dwellings not connected to water/electricity/sewerage Supports for special needs: Many of those with severe and profound disabilities applying for Accommodation Support Funding with the Disability Services Commission do not receive funding. Long waiting lists in the Independent Living Program Affordability: Declining affordability – e.g., The inaugural BankWest Key Worker Housing Affordability survey - more than 80% of capital city council areas too expensive for key workers to buy a house in 2007, compared with about 50% in 2002. Housing Need in WA : Housing Need in WA Unsafe Environments Violence in the home. Women escaping family/domestic violence remains the largest presenting group for SAAP. High turnaway rates from SAAP services among women and accompanying children Boarding houses Key Causes of Homelessness : Key Causes of Homelessness Lack of affordable housing Poverty Unemployment Domestic violence Alcoholism and substance abuse Mental health conditions Family break-up Cultural factors Consequences of Homelessness : Consequences of Homelessness Quality of life Reduced opportunities in terms of economic and social participation Mental health effects Alcohol and substance abuse Higher costs in other service areas Quality of life outcomes : Quality of life outcomes Physical: physical pain, need for medical treatment to function in daily life, energy for every day life, ability to get around physically, sleep, ability to perform daily living activities and capacity for work. Psychological: enjoyment of life, the extent to which life is seen to be meaningful, the ability to concentrate, acceptance of bodily appearance, satisfaction with one's self and frequency of negative feelings such as blue mood, despair, anxiety, depression. Social Relationship: personal relationships, sex life and social support. Environment: Feelings of safety in daily life, how healthy the respondent's physical environment is, whether the respondent has enough money to meet needs, availability of relevant information, opportunity for leisure activities, conditions of the respondents living place, access to health services and satisfaction with transport options. Cost Impacts of Homelessness : Cost Impacts of Homelessness Recent WA study: For all programs examined, the health and justice costs associated with homelessness was greater than the annual value of program recurrent funding + capital costs. In most cases annual population cost offsets are more than twice the annual value of program recurrent funding + capital costs. There is significant potential for net government cost savings from the provision of assistance. Policy Responses : Policy Responses Prevention Policies aimed at attacking root causes of homelessness e.g., poverty, availability of housing, overcrowding, domestic violence, Early intervention Tenant support programs, prisoner re-entry programs, education programs, child protection Crisis support Post-crisis transition (sustained exits) Life skills, outreach, supported tenancies, employment Improved Service Delivery : Improved Service Delivery Increased service linkage: government agencies; relevant community services, mental health, D&A services and labour market/training services. A broader range of supports provided to clients identified as needing such supports Outward-looking focus and responsibility - outreach activities and post-exit transition programs Support and advocacy services for children Current Policy Environment : Current Policy Environment SAAP V and the (former) WA Homelessness Strategy Homelessness Green and White Papers Closing the Gap - Indigenous housing in remote communities $1.6 billion COAG National Action Plan on Mental Health National Child Protection Framework Conclusion : Conclusion Continued high levels of unmet housing need and homelessness evident – we have a way to go to meet our objectives But we can with resources, the development of new programs & enhancement of existing programs and consistently improving the effectiveness of services

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