An incoming Northern Territory Government must make housing and homelessness a policy centerpiece in order to stave off the long term social and economic costs of homelessness, according to the Territory’s peak body for housing and homelessness, NT Shelter.
Speaking as part of National Homelessness Week, NT Shelter Executive Officer Peter McMillan said that a clear plan was needed to tackle the country’s highest rates of homelessness and set firm commitments on the number of new social and affordable houses for the next four years.
“The Northern Territory is in the unenviable position of occupying the top spot on Australia’s homelessness league table. This is certainly not something that Territorians should be proud of”, said Mr McMillan.
Referring to a legacy of under-investment in social housing over many decades by successive governments, Mr McMillan acknowledged the significant $1.1 billion ten year remote housing program currently under way but said that far more needed to be done to deliver anything close to the NT Government’s own estimate of the 8,000 to 12,000 shortfall of housing needed over the next five years.
“Today, as part of National Homelessness Week, we are calling on an incoming NT Government to put a firm stake in the ground that acknowledges that the currently trajectory we are on is well below what is needed to address our significant homelessness and housing challenges”, said Mr McMillan.
Under the banner of “A Fairer Housing Deal for all Territorians”, NT Shelter has set out four priority areas for the 2020 Election including increased funding to homelessness services, continued investment in remote housing, a net additional supply of 250 urban homes per year, and delivering enough accommodation infrastructure to meet rough sleeper needs.
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