The Council of Capital City Lord Mayors (CCCLM) will today host a national industry roundtable to drive stronger action on homelessness and the provision of social housing.

The roundtable will bring Lord Mayors together with community housing and homelessness services providers, business and research groups, and state and federal government representatives.

Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp said the meeting would consider how to implement recommendations made by the CCCLM in its report, Capital Concern: Homelessness in Australian Cities, which was presented to federal ministers in September.

“Finding safe, secure, long term accommodation for those experiencing homelessness is our top priority. Today’s meeting will discuss housing targets, funding gaps and effective mechanisms to drive a much faster build of social and community housing,” said the Lord Mayor.

“Homelessness and disadvantage will become entrenched unless we address this critical shortage.”

On Friday, the nation’s treasurers will meet in Canberra to discuss fast-tracking infrastructure projects to stimulate the economy. The CCCLM report recommends treating housing as critical infrastructure and identifies key inner-city strategic sites in each capital city that could be developed immediately. Other recommendations include:

  • A COAG Council to be created as a priority to facilitate action on housing and homelessness.
  • The Federal Government to develop a long-term and integrated National Housing and Homelessness Strategy, based on a housing first approach, to be implemented with participation by all levels of government, private sector and service providers. Key priorities within a National Housing and Homelessness Strategy to include:
    • Increasing targeted housing and support to prevent homelessness, for example by enabling planned exits from institutions to stable affordable housing.
    • Supporting preventative programs that address the drivers of homelessness, including family violence, mental health, drug and alcohol use.
    • Providing more assistance for crisis accommodation that includes support for people to transition to sustainable long-term housing.
    • Committing funding to the development of key inner-city strategic sites and treat housing as critical infrastructure that provides:
      • Transformative investment that significantly increases social housing stock for those experiencing or at risk of homelessness;
      • Affordable housing units that support low income earners and key workers;
      • Adequate post crisis and wrap around support to ensure successful tenancies.
  • Review the National Housing and Homelessness Agreement and Commonwealth rent assistance program to ensure adequate support programs are in place.
  • Commission a review of Centrelink policy that contributes to housing stress and homelessness, such as welfare policies, proof of identity practices to ensure the most vulnerable people in our cities can access social security.
  • Federal government to conduct a review of State and Territory housing debt, on the basis that savings are channelled into new and maintained social housing.

Lord Mayor of Hobart and CCCLM Chair, Anna Reynolds:
“As our Federal and State Treasurers meet tomorrow, we are hopeful that they will focus on the calls we as city councils, as well as those working in this sector continue to make. It is essential that all levels of government participate in effecting change in the lives of those that are in most need.”

Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore:
“World Homelessness Day is a chance to draw attention to the plight of those sleeping rough or struggling with housing stress, but the reality is we face a housing crisis every day of the year. We won’t fix this crisis without significant investment in social and affordable housing. We need our State and Federal representatives to consider housing essential infrastructure, and urgently provide the investment that can break the cycle of homelessness.”