Homelessness and the virus
“Hello and welcome back to daily buying tips, I’m Dean Berman from Berman Buys.
Today we’re going to talk about homelessness and the virus.
Most of us are dame lucky that we have shelter and a place of refuge.
A place where we can relax in.
A place we can be safe in.
In these times, a place where we can self quarantine.
Our fortresses. Our fortresses of solitude.
There is a part of our society who don’t have this.
They don’t have a place to stay.
A place to call home.
No four walls and roof.
No keys to open the door.
They don’t have shelter.
As we try our best to stay safe.
What are they doing?
How can someone possibly stay safe in this environment when they don’t have shelter?
The answer is shelter.
See, as of the last Census there were 116,000 homeless in Australia.
What many don’t realise is this doesn’t mean 116,000 sleep outside on the street every night.
It means that most of the 116,000 people are basically living in some sort of temporary accomodation.
The crucial part that we are talking about today, are the ones sleeping rough.
The ones living in ‘improvised dwellings, tents or sleeping out’.
These people are literally exposed to all the elements.
This makes up 8,200 of the 116,000 figure.
These are the most at risk.
NSW has almost 2,600, QLD has over 1,700, VIC has over 1,100, NT and WA has over 1,000.
Thankfully Governments around the country are doing something.
Generally in all states and territories Governments are paying for temporary accomodation for the homeless.
These range from hotel and motel rooms to self-contained apartments.
To me this is a win-win-win situation.
The people who really need help are getting it.
Accomodation providers who would be empty, have paying customers.
The Government is doing what they should be doing.
This brings us to an interesting debate.
Why has it taken an epidemic to shelter the unsheltered?
Yes, it costs taxpayer money.
But shelter, is a basic need.
People’s lives are literally being saved because of the spending.
In my opinion it’s worth every cent.
The NSW Government has allocated $34m, QLD Government $24.7m, VIC Government $8.8m and the SA Government has stated they will place rough sleepers in motels. There is a one month trial underway at a Perth hotel called ‘Hotels for hearts’.
Why can’t our Governments use this situation as a springboard as the NSW minister for families Gareth Wood’s vision is:
‘For temporary housing to become stable housing’.
We should look to Adelaide’s Zero Project as the gold standard in the country.
A program whose community knows its homeless by name.
This is a vital point.
If you don’t know who the people are, how can you help them?
This is a small city, that is setting the benchmark on how to treat the homeless.
A city that foresaw what was happening.
A Government who pre-empted the virus and who since February have provided accomodation to all the reported 150-250 rough sleepers.
They have shown amazing foresight to end street homelessness.
Let’s see the bigger states stepping up and achieving this outcome.
An outcome that could continue once this virus eases.
Maybe a springboard for positivity to end street homelessness in Australia?”