The yearly struggle to attract the federal funds that can help address homelessness must cease, says a Footscray-based service tackling family violence.
Women’s Health West is one of 209 organisations to sign an open letter last week, calling on prime minister Malcolm Turnbull to save key homelessness services from funding cuts by extending the federal government’s commitment to the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness (NPAH).
“Cuts to the NPAH will withdraw support from some of the most vulnerable people in our community,” the letter stated.
“We will see more people living on the streets of our cities and towns, more women facing family violence and sexual assault alone, fewer young people going to school, higher unemployment, more admissions to emergency departments, and the loss of lives that we can save.”
The Turnbull government announced on Friday it would deliver $117.2 million in NPAH funding, but fell short of committing to longer-term support.
“The government has brought forward this announcement well ahead of the 2017/18 Budget to give providers of frontline homelessness services the certainty they need to get on with their work of helping some of our most vulnerable Australians,” Mr Turnbull said in a statement.
Responding to the one-year funding announcement, Women’s Health West chief executive Robyn Gregory said family violence and related homelessness requires a much longer term solution.
“One year of funding does not enable us to plan and implement long term strategies for preventing family violence-related homelessness,” she said.
“Nor does it allow us to provide vital employment certainty to the women working in this program. It is imperative that the federal government provides funding security to ensure we can keep all women and children safe and free from poverty.”