'Dignity First' homelessness plan a 'complete joke'

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Australian Government Community Equality Political Queensland Government

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Amy MacMahon, Greens candidate for South Brisbane, has described the Queensland Government's 'Dignity First Fund' for addressing homelessness as an insulting joke, and tantamount to a complete surrender to Queensland's housing crisis.

"Quite honestly, this is a breathtakingly bad policy. People experiencing homelessness need a lot more than free haircuts, cafe boulevard experiences, or online apps - the first thing they need is a house."

"This is a policy designed in a public relations boardroom, where people are meant to feel warm and fuzzy about the fact that the Queensland Government is doing bloody nothing about homelessness."

"A 'dignity first' approach is an abdication of the government's responsibility to provide housing - this is not a solution to homelessness. Services like this should certainly not be funded under a housing portfolio."

"The reality is the Queensland Government doesn't give a toss about homelessness. Because if they did, they would recognise that Queensland is facing a housing crisis where there are over 30,000 people on the public and social housing waiting list."

"Instead of building more public housing, the Queensland Government's response has been to make the criteria to get on the waiting list so restrictive that not even being homeless is enough anymore."

According to Anglicare's 2016 snapshot, one percent of housing is affordable in Brisbane for a couple on the minimum wage. One in five Queensland households, or approximately 361,800 households are experiencing housing stress - that's the highest rate out of any state or territory. Meanwhile 2 in 5 clients of specialist homelessness services sought help due to domestic and family violence in 2015/16.

"Instead of haircuts, the Queensland government should be building thousands of public and social housing dwellings, reintroducing inclusionary zoning, and ensuring that new developments incorporate social housing. We need to better pay support workers to ensure that people can stay in their homes, and end the revolving door of public housing."

"Social housing shouldn't just be for our most vulnerable. In places like Austria and the Netherlands public and social housing is well funded and available to virtually everyone. It is well designed and services a large section of the population."

"We could pay for this by properly taxing the billions of dollars property developers make every year. If they are going to make billions of dollars off us every year selling us shoe box apartments almost no one can afford to buy, the least they can do is pay their fair share."

"We need to take on vested interests like property developers and real estate companies. This isn't going to happen while the two major parties keeping taking millions of dollars in property developer donations."

Further Information

  • 19,845 people are experiencing homelessness in Queensland.
  • In 2015-16, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, almost 2 in 5 clients of specialist homelessness services sought help due to domestic and family violence. In that period, 59% were of clients were women and 1 in 6 clients were children under the age of 10 years old.
 
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