Homelessness Week 2020
Raising awareness around homelessness
Held every year at the beginning of August, Homelessness Week seeks to raise awareness around people experiencing homelessness, the issues they face, and the action needed to achieve long-lasting solutions, including increasing the supply of social housing. This week is close to The Salvation Army’s heart as we connect daily with people street sleeping, sleeping rough and living in unsafe, insecure housing.
Coordinated by Homelessness Australia, Homelessness Week came about from various churches and missions running winter vigils to remember people who have died on the streets. These vigils were typically held in August, as this is the coldest time of year and a time when people were most likely to be overcome by the elements.
As part of Homelessness Week, The Salvation Army will be supporting the ‘Everybody’s Home’ campaign, calling on local members of parliament to sign a pledge, making a public commitment to build more social housing – creating jobs and helping to end homelessness. These next two months are critical as the government establishes stimulus priorities in response to the COVID-19 fallout. The more MPs offering their support, the greater the pressure on parties to include investment in social housing as part of Australia’s recovery.
How you can help end homelessness
Everybody needs a home
The theme for Homelessness Week 2020 – ‘Everybody Needs a Home’ – reflects on the importance of having a home, particularly in light of the ongoing crises that have overwhelmed Australians this year. With the bushfires destroying thousands of homes and the COVID-19 pandemic highlighting how crucial it is to have a safe place to isolate and stay healthy, the availability of accessible and affordable housing is an urgent issue that needs to be seriously addressed.
Almost 120,000 Australians are without a home every night. Countless job losses have meant that many people can no longer afford rent in the private market, or meet mortgage repayments, but the current national social housing shortfall of more than 433,000 properties means people are also unlikely to gain access to social housing. This chronic lack of social and affordable housing is forcing record levels of homelessness, while also making it incredibly difficult for people already experiencing homelessness to find a way out.
Over this time there will also be a focus on the Social Housing Acceleration and Renovation Program (SHARP) which will deliver 30,000 urgently needed new jobs over three years and provide an immediate boost in social housing to address homelessness.
Everybody needs a home, and everybody deserves one, addressing this injustice will not only spare thousands of people from experiencing homelessness, it will also greatly benefit the community and the economy.
The state of homelessness
Homelessnes is everywhere around us, and it may affect people around your area or local communities. The Everybody's Home campaign has created a map for homelessness across Australia. You can view homelessness information in different states in this interactive map below.