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Need for action on homeless: NT News Editorial

NT News Editorial. 25 January 2020

IN the words of NT Shelter executive officer Peter McMillan, there’s a real homelessness crisis in the Territory.

And it’s getting worse.

NT Shelter has seen demand for services increase 20 per cent in three years.

Services for vulnerable people are not keeping up with demand.

There’s a gap of 13.3 per cent of unmet requests for homelessness accommodation last financial year.

Our young people are also seeking more support, with the Australian Institute of Health and Wellbeing indicating demand has risen 24 per cent in the past two years.

The report also found 85 per cent of homeless people were indigenous.

These aren’t statistics to be proud of.

It’s the Territory’s often hidden shame.

Drastic action needs to be taken.

The rate of homelessness is 12 times the national average, with 600 people out of every 10,000 homeless.

While the Government’s 10-year $1.1 billion Remote Housing Investment Package to build and repair homes in remote areas has helped, it’s clearly not enough.

Mr McMillan said services for urban areas needed to be increased to keep up with demand.

He says there’s a risk people will not get the help they need if funding to services is cut.

It is time to help out vulnerable people, get them off the streets and back on to their feet.

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