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“It doesn’t make sense”: NT Shelter questions funding levels for homelessness services

The Northern Territory’s peak body for homelessness has questioned why the NT gets less federal funding than states like Western Australia, despite a more acute problem.

Funding for states and territories under the National Housing and Homelessness Agreement is based on population size rather than the number of rough sleepers.

NT Shelter Executive Officer Peter McMillan says: “That doesn’t make sense.”

“There no reason why states such as Western Australia that have 9,000 people homeless should be receiving $157 million under that Agreement whereas we have 13,700 people [experiencing homelessness] and we get 19 million. It doesn’t make any sense, and it needs to change.

St Vincent de Paul’s NT Chief Executive Fran Avon says the organisation is turning 6 people away every day on average, because of funding restraints.

“The funding is enabling us to offer services but we’re just finding demand is so great that we could provide accommodation for many more people and we just don’t have the facilities to do that at the moment.”

The Federal Government says the Productivity Commission is reviewing the funding model for the year 2023.

Listen to Peter McMillan and Fran Avon on ABC Darwin Breakfast: Part 1, Part 2.

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