Who we help
The latest figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that 105,237 people in Australia are experiencing homelessness, with 60% of those under the age of 35. Perhaps surprising to many people is that 44% of these are women, 13% are under the age of 12.
When considering these figures it is also important to remember that behind each number is the story of a fellow Australian who has experienced the extreme isolation and desperation of homelessness.
Each night in Australia, thousands of people stay in crisis accommodation facilities run by community organisations like the St Vincent de Paul Society.
We must look beyond the figures and see the people living in this desperate and soul-destroying situation.
People like Marie and her three children. Already struggling to make ends meet, the family’s situation worsened when Marie’s poor health forced the family to relocate nearer to the medical care she required. After staying with relatives for a few months, the situation broke down, and Marie and her children found themselves homeless.
Turning to a St Vincent de Paul Society service, Marie continued to search for a place to rent. She applied for everything available and eventually found a property to rent. The sad reality however is that the high rent means it will be very difficult for her provide even the basic essentials for her children; most likely forcing Marie and her family back into crisis.
Then there is a family of seven who had been staying in one of our crisis facilities after the house they had been renting for the last seven years was sold. They had been lucky that the landlord had kept the rent at an affordable level however, once the property was sold, they found they could not get back into the market. The family were willing to rent a small house but real estate agents were reluctant to rent a two bedroom house to a family of seven. As the family struggled to find somewhere to stay, things spiralled out of control. The father lost his job; the children left school and the mother’s mental health condition got worse. This family are yet to find a home and the strain of the experience means they will need support for some time.
These figures and these stories remind us that homelessness is unacceptable in a country as rich and prosperous as ours and business, government and charities must continue to work together to do all we can to reduce it.