Homelessness in Australia
<Lecturer’s Name and Course Number>
HOMELESSNESS IN AUSTRALIA
Homelessness is one of the issues that has substantially affected various parts of Australia. In Australia, this is a situation that is categorized into three primary layers. The first layer is referred to as primary homelessness, and it involves the situation whereby the victims have no conventional accommodation. In essence, this group of victims may either be sleeping in a rough place or living in a car. The next category is secondary homelessness, and it involves situation whereby the affected are in constant movement from one region to the other. As well, this situation also involves those people who stay in a refugee camp (Batterham at al., 2015). Finally, the last category is known as tertiary homelessness whereby the affected have accommodation but is considered as unstable. For instance, people living in a rooming house or a caravan park are considered to be in this category. Thus, the essay covers various issues concerning homelessness in Australia such the most affected areas, the number of homeless people, and suggested ways of overcoming this challenge (Wood at al., 2014).
It is imperative to note that there are some areas that the rate of homelessness is high in Australia. Research reveals that the northern and central parts of Australia are the most affected. In addition to the above regions, small pockets of the major cities are also affected. To be specific, the rate of homelessness in the northern regions is considered to be about fifteen times more than that of the national homelessness average rate (Grace, Wilson & Batterham, 2005). When statistics are calculated, the average national homeless in Australia is accounted for ten percent of the northern and central regions.
One of the most significant reasons for the increased homelessness in these regions is because of the shortage of housing facilities. This means that the demand for housing services is substantially greater than the supply. The top areas that are considered to have the highest rates of homelessness include East Arnhem, Daly-Tiwi, Katherine, Barkly, Alice Springs, Kimberly, Far North, and Darwin City (Memmott, Nash, & Birdsall-Jones, 2013).
The youth are the primary victims of homelessness in Australia. Thus, it is worth noting that there are some crucial factors that have contributed to the increased homelessness in Australia. The first and the most common factor leading to homelessness is a family breakdown. When a family experiences challenges that lead to a breakup, the children are the primary victims. In most cases, the parents may leave their children who are left without a place to reside leading to increased homelessness (Memmott at al., 2012). The second factor is a lack of sufficient income. Without income, parents cannot support their children and afford to pay for housing. In severe cases, the whole family can end up lacking a house and the outcome of such a situation is homelessness.
Thirdly, abuse and neglect are among the primary reasons for the increased homelessness of youths in Australia. In the northern and central regions, several cases of child abuse has been reported. Most of the children who are abused end up living in streets without a place to call home. Neglecting of children is the other issue that is contributing to increased homelessness in Australia (Memmott, Nash, & Birdsall-Jones, 2013). The majority of the unemployed parents end up neglecting their children since they have no money to support and raise them. As such, it is profound to note that poverty and unemployment are the main factors that trigger homelessness. If a family has a source of income, then they will be able to financially support their children. They make sure that they have food to eat, clothes to wear, and a place to live. On the contrary, without this kind of support children and the parents can end up in streets (Argent at al., 2006).
Lack of affordable housing is another contributing factor to the increased rate of homelessness in Australia. The majority of the people living in the affected areas are unemployed, and they cannot afford expensive rental houses. They struggle to get food and to add up the cost of housing is a substantial challenge to such families. In the long run, the majority of the affected end up being homeless. Some have ended up in refugee camps while other live in unstable and unconducive places (Wood at al., 2014).
In addition to the above, drug and alcohol abuse is the other contributing factor to the increased rate of homelessness. Research reveals that majority of the youths in streets ended up being homeless due to drug and substance abuse. Such a situation occurs in various forms. For instance, in the parents were drug addicts they must have neglected their roles and responsibilities and the children had to find life on their own. In other situations, the youths themselves engaged in abuse of drugs to appoint where they do not know their homes anymore (Grace, Wilson & Batterham, 2005).
However, it is imperative that it is not too late to overcome the issue of homelessness in Australia. There are crucial strategies that if they are implemented, the issue of homelessness will be a forgotten issue. One of the most crucial strategies that are worth trying is the development and implementation of a national framework and national homelessness action plan. Such an action plan should work on the objective of eliminating homelessness within a stipulated period (Rolley & Argent, 2007). To achieve successful outcomes, the framework should compose of structures and processes that are well designed in relation to the objectives. In addition to the above, specifically targets over short, medium, and long term should as well be incorporated. Finally, review and public monitoring of such strategies should be ensured with the objective of making a follow up on progress and arising issues (Batterham at al., 2015).
The next strategy that is vital in the fight against homelessness is to ensure affordable housing for the people. National Youth Commission asserts that “The affordable housing crisis has developed as a result of decades of policy neglect and under-funding (NYC, 2008). Thus, this is a substantial indication that there is a need to work on reducing the cost of housing. One way of achieving this is by the government and private organizations to invest in public and community housing. As well, the government should develop strategies and policies that enhance the designing and accessibility of the houses to the people. In particular, the government needs to develop and implement strategies with explicit attention to the needs of the young people and mainly those who are at risk of homelessness (Bligh, 2010).
As well, preventing homelessness by supporting “at-risk” families is another vital strategy that can help solve the issue of homelessness in Australia. To achieve this, there is a substantial need to provide funding. The role of such programs is to advise and provide the necessary support to the families that are at high risk of being homeless. In addition to the above, resource early intervention for this families are necessary. It is profound to note that the government of Australia has been essential in providing such programs that have seen reduced rates of homelessness in some areas (Kirkman, Bodzak & Turner, 2010). Some of the most common of these programs include school-based early intervention with the objective of minimizing homelessness of the young people.
Moreover, a new national approach to the care and protection of children in all states and territories is elemental in the fight against homelessness in Australia. It is the responsibility of the government to ensure that the young people are protected and taken care of. However, there are various barriers to such a strategy. One of the most crucial barriers is the lack of cooperative national approach to this issue (Milburn at al., 2006). The leaders in government lack cooperation in development and implementation of such strategies with the aim of eliminating homelessness (Rolley & Argent, 2007). In addition to the above, timid reform agendas is an additional barrier that has substantially led to the increased homelessness in most regions in Australia. Nevertheless, there is still hope if the government take immediate action strengthening care and protection of the people at high risk of homelessness (Argent at al., 2006).
Furthermore, warranting that supported accommodation is accessible in all communities is vital in the elimination of homelessness. This is one of the strategies that the Australian government has been keen on implementing in the fight of homelessness. However, to enhance the success rate achieved there are some key issues that the government must factor in the strategy. One of the most crucial is that there is a substantial need to expand the provision of expanding supported accommodation to ensure that all the communities can benefit (Kirkman, Bodzak & Turner, 2010).
Finally, it is imperative to redevelop employment, D&A and mental health programs for homeless young people. It is worth noting that creating employment is one way of enhancing the living standards of the people at risk of homelessness. In essence, there are unique issues that such as strategy needs to address. One of the key issues that should be addressed are the barriers to education that affect the youth (Memmott at al., 2012). When the young people access education, the chances of getting employment are very high. The other issue that is necessary is to provide the young generation with vocational training. This will be a vital move in inspiring them to engage with the labor market. Those who are affected health wise should also be treated in the best way possible. Development of employment programs for the affected thus is another crucial strategy in the fight against homelessness in Australia (Bligh, 2010).
In conclusion, homelessness is an issue that can be easily overcome in Australia. However, to overcome it there are several strategies that must be developed and implemented with immediacy. One of the most central approaches that are worth trying is the development and implementation of a national framework and national homelessness action plan. The action plan should work on the objective of eliminating homelessness within a stipulated period. The other strategy is to redevelop employment, D&A and mental health programs for homeless young people. This is primary because the young people are the main victims that are at risk of homelessness. Finally, strategies such as warranting that supported accommodation is accessible in all communities, developing a new national approach to the care and protection of children in all states and territories, and preventing homelessness by supporting “at-risk” families are vital in the fight against homelessness in Australia.
Argent, N., Rolley, F., Milbourne, P. and Cloke, P., 2006. Inhabiting the margins: A geography of rural homelessness in Australia. International perspectives on rural homelessness, pp.208-230.
Batterham, D., Cigdem, M., Mallett, S. and Wood, G., 2015. The geography and drivers of homelessness in Australia. Parity, 28(2), p.6.
Bligh, A., 2010. Foreword-Anna Bligh: Responding to Homelessness in Queensland. Parity, 23(6), p.3.
Grace, M., Wilson, N. and Batterham, D., 2005. Australian homeless jobseekers aged 18-35: Benchmark report for YP4 (Doctoral dissertation, Victoria University).
Kirkman, M., Keys, D., Bodzak, D. and Turner, A., 2010. “Are we moving again this week?” Children’s experiences of homelessness in Victoria, Australia. Social Science & Medicine, 70(7), pp.994-1001.
Memmott, P., Nash, D. and Birdsall-Jones, C., 2013. Indigenous homelessness in regional Australia. Institute for Social Science Research, University of Queensland.
Milburn, N.G., Rotheram-Borus, M.J., Rice, E., Mallet, S. and Rosenthal, D., 2006. Cross-national variations in behavioral profiles among homeless youth. American journal of community psychology, 37(1-2), pp.63-76.
Memmott, P., Greenop, K., Haynes, M., Clarke, A. and Western, M., 2012. The challenge of monitoring growth in regional Indigenous homelessness.
National Youth Commission, 2008. Australia’s Homeless Youth: A Report of the National Youth Commission Into Youth Homelessness. National Youth Commission.
Rolley, F. and Argent, N., 2007. The Geography of Rural Homelessness in Australia: Towards a New Research Agenda. Parity, 20(7), p.31.
Wood, G., Batterham, D., Cigdem, M. and Mallett, S., 2014. The spatial dynamics of homelessness in Australia 2001–2011.