Charities call for urgent boost to affordable housing

Leading charity St Vincent De Paul has warned an urgent increase in affordable housing is needed in Canberra to prevent a homelessness crisis in the near future.

Statistics from St Vincent De Paul claim homelessness has risen significantly since 2012. Despite this increase, they say levels of social and crisis housing have not grown since 2012.

“Homelessness is spiralling out of control, and we need to take control,” Barnie Van Wyk, ACT St Vincent De Paul chief executive officer, said.

“Unless we have some affordable housing and support for people that are homeless in the very near future, and there’s definitive decisions being made by the local government, next year will be really difficult for us,” he said.

“The big gap for us is supported accommodation, transitional accommodation and access to ACT public housing, you can send us 100 people and we’ll engage with them, but ultimately if we don’t have that ability to move them in or onto that next stage then that’s a problems.” Streets Homes Program case manager Tim Coxhead said.

St Vincent De Paul operates during Canberra winter period, providing the homeless with food and thermal gear. After 2 months they had already handed out 75 to 80 per cent to the total figure given away last year.

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