Proposed funding cuts shock homelessness agencies

Launch Housing is deeply disturbed by reports today alleging sweeping funding cuts to crucial homelessness programs via the National Affordable Housing Agreement (NAHA).

“We note that at this stage the reports are speculation and have yet to be clarified by the Federal Government,” said Launch Housing CEO Tony Keenan.

“Because of this, we have written to seek urgent clarification from Minister for Social Services, Christian Porter, Assistant Minister for Social Services, Zed Seselja, and Assistant Minister to the Treasurer, Michael Sukkar.

“We find it very difficult to believe that any government would consider cutting homelessness programs in light of the current crisis,” he added.

Launch Housing supports over 18,000 households annually of people who are experiencing or are at risk of homelessness.

“We estimate around $17 million of our programs would be lost if the NAHA was scrapped,” said Mr Keenan.

These programs include: four crisis accommodation services that provide crisis beds to 105 women, children and men across Melbourne each night; programs working with rough sleepers; programs supporting family violence, and numerous other housing and support programs across Melbourne.

“Given the budget won’t be released until May, expecting services to implement such significant cuts in less than two months would lead to an unprecedented crisis across the country.

“We have been encouraged that the Federal Government has started to focus on how to increase housing affordability and we look forward to being part of those discussions, however, cuts like those mooted in the media, with no alternatives in sight are just not the way to treat our most vulnerable members of the community.

“The impacts of such a cut, if they were ever implemented, would be devastating for tens of thousands of people in communities across the country,” Mr Keenan added.