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‘Family and domestic violence is the number one reason that people seek support from homelessness services’

NT Shelter has featured in a recent National Indigenous Times article, welcoming the new Federal and Commonwealth Budgets.

‘NT Shelter, the Territory’s Peak body for affordable housing and homelessness, has welcomed the federal budget’s more than doubling of funding for housing and homelessness via a new $9.3 billion National Agreement on Social Housing and Homelessness (NASHH).

The portion of the funding specifically for homelessness has increased from $5.9 million in 2023-24 to $42.8 million; a seven-fold increase.

NT Shelter head of operations, Annie Taylor, said the increase in funding is unprecedented and game changing.

“We are delighted that the Federal Government has heard the housing and homelessness sector’s clear and consistent calls and acted decisively. Funding needs to go where it is needed most and that’s the Northern Territory where we have 12 times the national rate of homelessness,” she said.

In the new five-year agreement, the Territory will receive more than 2.5 times the previous funding commitment from the federal government – from $21.9 million in 2023-24 to $55.6 million per year in 2024-25.

“Beyond the numbers, although they are significant, what this means in real terms is that more Territorians experiencing homelessness will get the support they so desperately need. Due to previous funding arrangements, the NT has historically been disadvantaged in our ability to provide the range and quantity of homelessness programs needed,” Ms Taylor said.

“The level of unmet demand for homelessness services in the NT rises year-on-year and our homelessness services are overstretched. More funding for homelessness means this can be directed to the frontline to support those who need it most.”

In the NT in 2022-23, one in 25 people received homelessness assistance, higher than the national rate of one in 95.

The federal budget also includes $1 billion over five years for states and territories to build the supporting infrastructure needed for new housing supply – roads, sewers, energy, water and community infrastructure. The portion of this funding allocated to the NT is $25 million.

The government also announced $1 billion of the National Housing Infrastructure Facility (NHIF) will be quarantined specifically for accommodation projects for young people experiencing homelessness and women and children escaping domestic family violence. In the Northern Territory, 56 per cent of people seeking support for homelessness are doing so due to domestic family violence compared with 36 per cent nationally.

NT Minister for the Prevention of Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence, Kate Worden, said “there is a great need for housing for survivors of domestic and family violence, with this cohort making up more than a third of those seeking specialist homelessness services”.

“This investment is an acknowledgement of the critical need for housing and homelessness services across the Territory and will go a long way towards making a tangible difference to the lives of many Territorians,” she said.

Ms Taylor said young people under 25 are almost 50 per cent of the NT’s homeless population, yet the Territory is “the only jurisdiction without proven models of youth accommodation, like the Youth Foyer”.

“Family and domestic violence is the number one reason that people seek support from homelessness services. This money will mean that more is done to assist these priority cohorts into safe and secure accommodation,” she said.

NT Shelter congratulated the NT government on successfully finalising the agreement with the Commonwealth.

“We have been delighted to work closely with the Northern Territory Government to get this milestone agreement over the line and secure significantly more funding to support vulnerable Territorians. Now that this funding has been secured, the hard work begins in developing and delivering the programs and services that too many Territorians have been missing out on,” Ms Taylor said.

Territory Minister for Urban Housing Ngaree Ah Kit said the NT government is acutely aware of the NT’s high rate of homelessness, and has worked closely with the Commonwealth for more needs-based funding.

“I welcome this significant investment that will enable us to make a real difference to Territorians who are experiencing homelessness,” she said.

“I look forward to working with our sector partners to build on these investments in social and affordable housing to redesign our homelessness service system and support individuals and families across the Territory to secure safe, stable accommodation.”

Read the full article here

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