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National Shelter supports additional SHS funding for the Northern Territory

The following is an excerpt from the National Shelter 2021-22 Pre-Budget Submission to the Federal Government. 

Specialist Homelessness Funding
National Shelter has welcomed the inclusion of the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness within the NHHA. There are still risks involved within the funding arrangement and inconsistencies we highlight:

  • Homelessness funding should be identified as a discrete component in the NHHA
  • Both social housing and Specialist Homelessness Services could be vulnerable to a change in the mix or makeup of State and Territory allocations.
  • The Northern Territory experiences a level of homelessness beyond the funding it receives to provide appropriate service responses.

National Shelter recommends that all funding for homelessness service provision be identifiable and States/Territories specify their contribution to funding SHS provision.

National Shelter generally promotes the national perspective but believes a special case needs to be made for the Northern Territory.

National Shelter acknowledges the positive role played by the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Housing and its predecessor the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing and the new commitment to more remote housing in the Northern Territory by the Federal and Territory Governments, these will help.

The Northern Territory experiences more than 10 times the national level of homelessness at 5.6% of its population compared to 0.47% nationally [Ref 1]. The Territory receives a much lower proportion of the NHHA given its much lower population but is underfunded in its means to appropriately respond to its high level of homelessness. While funding for social housing and homelessness are contained in the NHHA allocations making it a state jurisdictional matter to apply funding, the entire Territory allocation for NHHA of $18.9m [Ref 2] (1.3% of national funding) is insufficient to meet the service requirements for a homeless population of 13,721.

  • National Shelter recommends providing additional funding to the NT (above the current NHHA funding and not as a reallocation from other jurisdictions) for specialist homelessness services (SHS) of $100m per annum for the next 10 years. Cost in 2021 $100m. SHS services should provide both support services and social and affordable housing especially in remote areas of the NT.

National Shelter’s full 2021-22 Pre-Budget Submission is available to download here.

References:

  1. OECD Affordable Housing Database, HC3.1 Homeless Population, last updated 24/7/17
  2. https://ntshelter.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/2019-National-Housing-and-Homelessness-Forum.pdf
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