In a bid to reduce homelessness and to boost job numbers, the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) has called on the Federal Government to initiate a bold public housing program. Included in its report Build Back Better, ACOSS is advocating for $7 billion to be spent on social housing for 30,000 families and individuals in need. “We can create thousands of jobs and reduce homelessness through a public infrastructure program,” said ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie.
In its report, ACOSS said the COVID-19 lockdown had “exposed the scale of homelessness and rough sleeping in Australia, both as a social problem and as a health risk”. “Now more than ever,” said Goldie, “the virus and bushfires have shown us we must work together to help each other recover and get us on a path to building a better future, with positive ideas that create jobs, and quickly, while strengthening communities.”
ACOSS is also calling on the government to extend the JobKeeper scheme to temporary migrants, including international students and asylum seekers. “We are all in this together, but some people are being left to face severe economic hardship without any support, without even access to Medicare,” said ACOSS’s Jacqueline Phillips. “Everyone deserves to be able to put food on the table and have a roof over their head.”
In response to the hardship being faced by temporary visa holders, the Australian Red Cross is providing support with a small one-off emergency relief payment. Emergency relief is provided to help people with basic needs like food, medicine, or shelter. The support can only be offered to people who are not Australian citizens
or permanent residents; who are not eligible for state funds; have no income or savings; and no access to any other support.
If you need help and think you may be eligible, you can apply for emergency relief here.