Shelter WA expresses concern for Federal Budget’s failure to tackle rising WA homelessness

EAST Perth-based housing and homelessness group Shelter WA has expressed deep concern at the Federal Budget’s failure to tackle the housing crisis in WA.

Executive officer Chantal Roberts told the Guardian Express that the Budget contained “no new initiatives to address homelessness or housing affordability”.

“The Affordable Housing Working Group canvassed options to develop models of financing for affordable housing – none of these options was included in the budget,” she said.

“This was a lost opportunity to … draw more private investment into a sustainable and affordable housing system.”

Ms Roberts said the Budget continued to “favour speculative investors by leaving negative gearing unchanged, despite the evidence that it contributes to inflationary prices and locks first-time buyers out of the market”.

She also said there seemed to be no plan to deal with the sharpest edge of the affordability crisis – homelessness.

“There are no forward estimates beyond 2017 to fund the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness, which provides essential services to prevent and address homelessness,” she said.

Ms Roberts said seven organisations under the ambit of the Department of Child Protection and Family Support would have severe funding cuts, affecting five regional services and four metropolitan services from August 1 this year.

“These cuts will have a substantial impact on people at risk of or experiencing homelessness,” she said.

Department director general Emma White confirmed that the seven organisations would have funding cut.

“While the Government’s two-year commitment to the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness was welcomed, there was no additional funding to allow for indexation or supplementation to support organisations with their salary obligations,” she said.

Ms White said one of the nine affected services would be cancelled and the others will have staff levels reduced.