An End to Homelessness
Did you know that on any one night more than 122 500 Australians are homeless? More than that, in the year 2021 to 2022, over 272 000 people sought help from Specialist Homelessness Services.[i]
This is not just a statistic. These are people, young, old, from all sorts of backgrounds and facing all sorts of challenges. This Homelessness Week, we’re challenged to think about how we can come alongside them and be part of changing the story. By working together we can bring an end to homelessness.
What is Homelessness?
Homelessness is more than rooflessness. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) there are in fact five factors that need to be present for someone to be regarded as having a “home”.
A sense of security, stability, privacy, safety, and control over living space are all essential to having a place to call “home”. The ABS definition regards someone as “homeless” if any one or more of these factors are missing.
In the approach to Homelessness Week this August, we’re challenged to consider how we can bring the jigsaw pieces together, so that others can find A WAY HOME and An End to Homelessness in Australia can become a reality.
The Jigsaw Pieces to Overcome Homelessness
In the same way that there is a way INTO homelessness, there is also a way OUT and practical ways that we can be a part of the solution.
1. Networks of Support
We all need to find a place where we belong. A community where we can contribute and find our place is vital to maintaining wellbeing, both physical and mental.
Joining groups, making friends, being a part of a club, can provide the support we need, a community that knows who we are and values our contribution.
How can you make the groups you are a part of places where people who are facing the challenges of homeless can find belonging? Are you open to welcoming people who are different from you? Are there groups in your community that you could join and connect with those doing it tough?
Financial stability makes it possible for an individual to maintain housing. This could be achieved through employment or other long or short-term support.
It can feel like this is beyond our control to do anything about. But is it?
By cutting our own spending we can release funds to give to a charity or provide for someone doing it tough in your community.
For those in business, are there additional roles that could be created to provide employment for people who need a job to get back on their feet?
We can create opportunities to share our skills with others and help them be job ready.
Partner with an organization that provides micro-loans to people to help them establish a small business and achieve financial independence.
3. A Purpose in Life
Every life needs a purpose. Whether homeless or not, finding a positive way to contribute to our community gives life meaning, enhances self-esteem and provides a healthy outlet for our energies. This isn’t only about finding a vocation or big mission in life but can be found in our small day to day efforts too.
Purpose can be found in volunteering, providing support to other people, or contributing to the communities we belong to.
When we create opportunities for people we are supporting to move from being “clients” to being part of the team, we restore dignity and self-esteem. By creating plenty of small roles that can be shared around, we create space for everyone.
This can be as simple as washing the dishes, setting up the space, packing up at the end or looking out for others. Throughout the history of Fusion, we’ve found that when treated with respect and dignity, anyone can find a way to be involved.
4. Predictability of Tenure
When there is certainty around the place you call home in the medium to long term, you can book appointments, find a school community where you can belong, know where your dentist is and the best place to buy your supermarket supplies. Without tenure it’s harder to make a schedule or stick with it, because the details of life are more uncertain, adding to emotional distress and worry.
How can we be part of the solution?
One of the major challenges in the current market is that owners are choosing to use their properties for short term (AirBnB-style) rentals. By doing this, the property owner earns the same amount of money in a couple of days, as they would in a couple of weeks for a traditional rental.
One way we can be part of the solution is to consider how we use our spare rooms and rental properties. Could these be made available to provide stable housing rather than only generating quick income?
Find out more about homelessness in Australia and the strategies that are being proposed to address the real and growing need for affordable housing. Are there ways that we can advocate for the needs of our fellow Australians?
To have hope that our situation can get better brings energy and positivity, enabling us to take action and move forward. Despair is debilitating and can rob us of the capacity to act.
How can we help others find hope as they face their challenges?
Take small actions to show you care. Listen, offer help when it’s needed, find out what other resources are available and connect those in need with them.
Hope will rise if there is ANY chance that things can improve. We don’t need to have all the answers, but any small encouragement we can offer will help those around us to find hope for their future.
As we can see, there are ways that we can be part of bringing change to our communities. Together we can bring an end to homelessness. Are you up for the challenge?
Find out more about how you can impact your community with Fusion.