YWCA Australia has joined more than 200 homelessness services and peak bodies in calling on the Federal Government to maintain funding for homelessness services during a national housing crisis.
Federal funding for the $65 million equal remuneration order, a supplement to cover wage costs, has been provided since 2012 but will expire at the end of June. It is estimated that this reduction could result in the loss of 650 homelessness support workers, three-quarters of whom are women.
CEO of YWCA Australia Michelle Phillips said the reduction in funding comes at a time when services are already struggling to meet demand from a housing system under immense pressure. With record low vacancy rates, rising interest rates, skyrocketing rents, and increased cost of living, it is imperative that programs that provide critical support to people at risk of homelessness are maintained.
“Women and their families who are without a home or struggling to keep a roof over their head rely on homelessness services. The funding cuts could mean fewer workers on the ground and more people being turned away from support,” she said.
“The Federal Government must ensure appropriate funding to give workers and women the stability they need. Without this funding, people needing support may struggle to find it.”
YWCA Australia supports the Federal Government’s commitments to increasing the supply of social and affordable housing but by signing the joint letter acknowledges the critical role homelessness services play in ensuring people, especially women, can break the cycle of homelessness.
YWCA Australia will continue working with our members and the other signatories to ensure our voices are heard by the Federal Government