Moving homeless people on is not a solution

2 Aug 2016

When it comes to homelessness, out of sight should not be out of mind

The Age newspaper has reported today that “The sight of homeless people camped in the city is damaging Melbourne’s tourism reputation, say residents and business operators, who have demanded rough sleepers be moved from public view.”

“People are shocked by visible homelessness in the community – they should be,” said Lucy Adams, manager of Justice Connect’s Homeless Law program.

“Often they’re shocked for the wrong reasons though. It’s shocking that so many Australians are left without a home and without support. Their presence shouldn’t be offensive to us because we don’t want to see people experiencing difficulty in our community. It should be offensive to us because our community is, at present, failing to properly support these community members.

Better access to more affordable housing and community support is the solution

“People don’t choose to be homeless. There are over 1000 people sleeping on the streets in Victoria and 35,000 people are waiting for public housing. People sleeping rough are forced to live their lives in the public eye. They’re exposed and unsafe”, Ms Adams said.

“Enforcement-based approaches and ‘moving people on’ aren’t appropriate solutions. We need well thought out responses based on evidence about what we know works. Providing affordable, accessible housing and supports is the solution,” said Ms Adams.

Each year Justice Connect assists hundreds of people in Victoria who are dealing with the difficulties that come with homelessness. Pushing to move homeless people out of sight and out of mind will get us nowhere.

To help Justice Connect continue supporting those experiencing homelessness and disadvantage, please consider making a donation.

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