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Homelessness Week to shine the spotlight on the Territory’s urgent need for more housing

This Sunday marks the start of Homelessness Week 2021, and the Northern Territory remains miles behind the rest of the nation when it comes to housing our homeless population, estimated by the ABS to be 13,717 people.

NT Shelter, the Territory’s peak body for affordable housing and homelessness, continues to press for a national plan to tackle homelessness through the supply of more social and affordable housing.

Executive Officer, Peter McMillan, says the demand for homelessness services across the Territory continues to rise at an alarming rate. Young people in particular are feeling the pain, with a 62.8% increase in people under 24 years of age seeking help in the two years to June 2020.

“Everybody needs a home. We’re alarmed by the number of people that are at risk of homelessness, especially at a time when there is virtually nothing to rent and certainly nothing that is affordable for many families.”

Homelessness Week raises awareness of the level of homelessness in Australia and the need for action to address it. In Australia, there are over 116,000 people experiencing homelessness on any given night. Although only 1% of the Australian population lives in the NT, it has 12% of the nation’s homeless population.

Mr McMillan said there was wide acceptance that the public housing system in Australia was broken but more effort and commitment from all levels of Government was needed if inroads to reduce homelessness were to be made.

“This is a national challenge that is particularly dire in the Territory. While we want to attract people to the Territory and grow our economy through new jobs and investment, we aren’t able to house our current population let alone a higher level of population. There’s no time to waste and it’s time to get cracking on a plan to tackle this. Otherwise, the lack of housing will further hold us back”.

To find out more about homelessness in the Northern Territory, or to attend an in-person or online event in your area head to: https://ntshelter.org.au/upcoming-events/

A list of national events can be found on Homelessness Australia’s website: https://homelessnessaustralia.org.au/homelessness-week-1-7-august-2021/

Download the media release here

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