Government funding not enough to stem Sydney’s homelessness epidemic
Individual donations will continue to be a primary source of funding for specialist homelessness services in New South Wales despite the Federal Government’s $60 million boost.
The Federal Government signed a two year funding deal with the Baird Government, which will contribute $70 million, to focus on services provided to homeless youth and domestic violence victims.
Carol Cavuoti, a representative of the Salvation Army’s Oasis Youth Support Network, said that it was still too early to say what the impact on Oasis will be, but that “this is not really a significant amount of money for such a significant problem.
“Individual donations can be vital to some of Oasis’ many programs, allowing some programs to continue to exist, some to have the resources they need…and others to provide additional brokerage funds to clients.”
Bruce Fink, a long-term benefactor of Oasis, acknowledged that individual efforts are essential to stemming Sydney’s homelessness epidemic. “I feel we are privileged to live in this country and believe we all need to contribute to make things better for the next generation and the generations to come.”
The Cost of Youth Homelessness
Oasis has assisted 1,550 young people in the past year, providing a range of service including emergency accommodation and employment training. Their operating budget is about $7 million.
About half of this is currently funded by the Federal and State Governments. For the remaining amount Oasis relies heavily on donations.
Bruce Fink, the Executive Director of Executive Channel International (ECI), has supported the organisation’s Education Centre for five years by providing textbooks, technology and stationary for disadvantaged children completing their Higher School Certificate.
“Many of the kids come from unbelievably difficult background…It is just extraordinary how transformative the experience of Oasis has been to them. It gives them a real chance at a satisfying and meaningful future,” he said.
Oasis’ 2015 report ‘The Costs of Youth Homelessness’ found that:
- Only 31% of homeless young people over the age of 18 competed Year 12.
- The unemployment rate of homeless youth in Oasis’ sample study was at 84%
Young people are the largest proportion of Sydney’s homeless
It is estimated that about 44,000 young Australians, or about 42% of homeless people, are under the age of 25. The actual number of homeless youth is likely to be higher according to Oasis’ report, ‘The Costs of Youth Homelessness’.
A recent study by the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology found that 13% of Australians have experienced homelessness in their lifetime.
On any given night, approximately 105,000 Australians are homeless according to ABS figures.