Influencing Policy and Legislation

The Problem of Homelessness

Homelessness is a major problem in Australia and social workers have to help the people suffering from the risk of homelessness at the societal level to minimize the factors which lead to homelessness. There are three basic types of homelessness i.e. primary homelessness which is majorly experienced by people who do not have any conventional accommodations. Secondary homelessness is the category under which people frequently move from one shelter to another, and tertiary homelessness is experienced by that sector of people who are categorized under the minimum community standards and are living under overcrowded places (Fox, 2012).

This categorization is somewhat useful to measure the homelessness but it does not include the entire category of people who are experiencing it neither the trauma nor nature has been categorized under these different categories. It is very important to understand that any person who does not have any suitable accommodation for a living can be called as a homeless person (Arthurson, 2008). Any living which is not adequate does not have any tenure any other place which does not have excess space to build up social relations can be held under the category of homelessness.

The facility of housing is recognized as a basic human right and it is important to understand that homelessness is the breach and violation of the human rights enshrined upon the individuals of Australia. According to the survey conducted by Homelessness Australia, everyone Australian out of 200 people is homeless (Australian Bureau of Statistics,2009). Therefore it can be concluded that the major problem behind homelessness in Australia can be due to the extreme poverty conditions and lack of affordability from the end of the individuals.

Why does it matter?

It is very important to understand the problematic areas of risk associated with the homelessness of a large number of individuals in Australia as this problem can further lead to another potential risk. The stress of homelessness is widely linked to the inequality of the housing market and it directly creates a negative impact upon the mental health, physical health, social and financial constraint, along with this the wellbeing of the individuals are also compromised (Pieters, 2007). It must be noticed that the large number of people suffering from homelessness are recognized as Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islander people who are suffering from overcrowded housing areas which can be taken as an influence from colonization(Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2009).

What is the reason behind it?

The major reason which can be identified behind the current situation of Australia housing facility is that the ownership of the home is gradually declining in Australia and on the other hand the prices of the house are gradually increasing. This imbalance is the major factor which is contributing to the current situation of homelessness. According to various services conducted by the Australian government, it has been recorded that only 67% of Australians are the owners of their households (Pieters, 2007). However, since the year 1996, the percentage has significantly dropped as two people who had once owned their households are categorized under the people who went under mortgage to buy their homes (Berry, 2003).

The average housing price is more than 4 times the average income of the households in Australia on an annual basis which is creating unnecessary pressure on the rental market of Australia. The results from various services easily conclude with the help of analyzing various data that more than 80% of the rental households have less than 20% of the annual income and is paying 30% of their rents and which are more than their income (Forster, 2006). The major reason that can be identified is the negative gearing of an annual income of the people in Australia who are potential is seeking to effort decent housing facilities for them.

Available Options on Homelessness

The policy submission helps to identify some of the options that must be taken into consideration by the government of Australia to eradicate the problem of homelessness in the country. Apart from the problem of imbalance between the income of the people in Australia and the rise in the price of household, other factors are also contributing to the problem of homelessness. The government with the help of the social workers through various International Non-governmental organizations must focus upon the approach which will be inclusive of analyzing the human function and their behavior (Slater, 2007). Apart from this, the other political, historical, social-economic, cultural as well as legal factors also contribute to the problem of homelessness.

Here comes the active role of social workers which will work in gathering the people special needs children and women who have cleared from their home due to trauma or sexual violence against them (Carole, 2011). The government must provide minimum support in terms of helping them financially who are suffering from social isolation. The Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islander people are often alienated from their families and go into the problems of alcohol and gambling. These are a few problems that can be associated with the risk of homelessness. Therefore some assertive programs must be formulated by the government in such a way that the social workers can help them to assist in various ways which must be inclusive of their healthcare and income security (Zufferey, 2008).

Social workers can also aid please people in developing their skills which can help them in making some income so that they can work up their basic needs. According to the Australian Council of Social Service and the National Association of Tenants Organization, it is important to come up with certain agendas and propaganda to provide affordable housing facilities to the people suffering from homelessness (Zufferey, 2008).

Recommendations to Combat Homelessness

There is a need for change in the policies in the number of areas where priority must be given to reform the treatment associated with the tax reforms to improve the affordability of housing in Australia. Apart from this, there must be private as well as a public investment that must be there to address the shortfall in the affordability of housing stock (Chileshe, 2010). It is the responsibility of the government to rebuild and reformulated the building planning, urban planning as well as land planning to promote and create more affordable housing especially for the people who are hailing from the minority class community in the country. Also, it is very important to formulate various tenancy protection reforms to provide more safeguards and security to the renters so that they are not being exploited by the landlords.

As per the commonwealth rent assistance, it is important to formulate a maximum rent policy over which the landlord cannot ask more from the tenants and this will also indirectly help in protecting the basic human rights of these people in Australia (Chileshe, 2010). The Australian association of social workers usually supports and endorses from their end a systematic approach to bring changes in the existing policies. Policies must not be strict and constant and we must be changed according to the need of society. This is the reason why our national reformed plan must be formulated to provide more affordable housing facilities to where certain priorities must be kept which will recognize various barriers for different categories of people irrespective of their age and gender for affording a decent accommodation in the country.

Certain things need to be considered and implemented accordingly to bring the change in the problem of homelessness in Australia. It is important to understand that formulation of policies and the implementation of the same in a stricter manner is completely different. Therefore it is a need of an hour that specific agendas must be formulated and incorporated which will help to increase the allowance for the youth and people who are aiming to start something new to keep pace with their cost of housing and standard of living decently(Chileshe, 2010). More programs and communities must come up to improve the skills and train the youth of minorities to make them aware of various ways to which they can create income which will help them to sustain an indecent manner(Forster, 2006).

Apart from this, it is the responsibility of the government to create a system of tax that helps to build up more affordable housing with the existing resources available without jeopardizing the owners of the houses. It is important that the negative gearing must be directed to supply and improve the quality of accommodation in Australia. The government must build up houses and bust formulate certain tax is related to the land and stamp duties to target the people from lower-income. Another major recommendation for the issue of homelessness is to renovate and renew the already old stock in such a way that the social housing stock can be increased. help the government to avoid any greater cost for building any new housing facilities for the people suffering from homelessness in Australia (MacKenzie, 2008).

The role of the Federal government is very important in the problem of homelessness in Australia as the Federal government can work in collaboration with various community sectors to recommit with the independent expertise and adequate advice can be given to the people to combat the problem of homelessness. The federal government can also allow investors to promote and provide more necessary funds into the housing incentive schemes(Forster, 2006).

Implications of Adequate Recommendations

There can be certain implications regarding the implementations of the recommendations made under the policy submission. If the Federal Government of Australia even works under the budget constraints to provide adequate housing facilities to the different category of people in Australia then there is a potential likeliness that the self-motivation and ability to work and offered a housing facility made from the end of the people and they may become more reluctant towards understanding their responsibility (Yates, 2014).

Therefore it must be the responsibility and accountability of the individual himself to understand the problem of homelessness and works hard to afford a better life. The role of government must be involved only where the situations are evident that the human rights of these people are violated and they are getting exploited by other elements of the society. Therefore the policies must be restructured in such a way that the text benefits and housing facilities must be provided only to a certain sector of people in the society who you are suffering from a genuine problem of homelessness despite their adequate efforts.

Conclusion on Homelessness

Therefore it can be concluded that the problem of homelessness in Australia creates a negative impact on the lives of individual and community Australia at large. To address the problem the role of government and social workers is very important as they play a role in addressing several underlining issues and factors behind the problem of homelessness in the country. Apart from the problem of the lower-income and unacceptably high price of housing, the problem of family violence and sexual violence also add upon to the problem of homelessness for the people of different gender and age. Although the recommendations can be Complex but are not impossible to be implemented by the government of Australia.

If the government of Australia and social workers come up together the problem of homelessness can be addressed with more equity and indirectly the problem and violation of human rights can also be addressed at the same time. The implementation will help to reduce the potential future risk of greater homelessness in the country if various levels of society come up together to eradicate the problem of homelessness.

There are various factors like the social economic and historical factors that need to be assessed to determine the problem of homelessness for each category so that the policies can be formulated accordingly to target every category of homelessness people in Australia.Therefore, the implementations of policies are not very difficult if it is performed under adequate analysis of the entire problem. Every institution and different factors of the government must come up together in order to eradicate the problem of homelessness from Australia without discriminating any sector class of individual in the society.

References for Homelessness

Fox, R. (2012). Dwelling prices and household income.bulletin.Reserve Bank of Australia.3(1).45-67.

Arthurson, K. (2008). Australian public housing and the diverse histories of social mix, Journal ofUrban History, 34(3), 484-501

Australian Bureau of Statistics, (2009).Building approvals: Australia: February 2009, CatalogueNumber 8731.0, Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra

Pieters, H. (2007). Housing affordability and planning in Australia: thechallenge of policy under neo-liberalism, Housing Studies, 22(1), 11-24

Berry, M. (2003). Why is it important to boost the supply of affordable housing in Australia—and howcan we do it?Urban Policy and Research, 21(4), 413-435

Forster, C. (2006). The challenge of change: Australian cities and urban planning in the new millennium, Geographical Research, 44(2), 173–182

Slater, M. (2007).Band-aid or panacea?the role ofprivate rental support programs in addressing access problems in the Australian housingmarket, Housing Studies, 22(6), 901–919.

Carole,Z. (2011). Homelessness, social policy, and social work: a way forward, Australian social work, 64(3), 241-244

Zufferey, C. (2008). Responses to Homelessness in Australian cities: social worker perspectives. Australian Social Work ,6(1), 357-371.

Chileshe, N. (2010). National housing policy in Australia: Are new initiatives in affordable housing sustainable?The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences: Annual Review. 5. 129-147.

Yates, J. (2014). Changes in the supply of affordable housing in the private sector for lower income households, 2006-2011.AHURI. 2(1), 34-67

MacKenzie, D. (2008). Counting the Homeless: Australia 2006.Australian Census Analytic Program. Retrieved from: http://www.ausstats.abs.gov.au/ausstats/subscriber.nsf/0/57393A13387C425DCA2574B900162DF0/$File/20500 -2008Reissue.pdf

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