Homelessness is a problem for all!

It is a right for every human being to have secure accommodation. However, it turns out that not many people could boast of an accommodation that they call home. This is a persistent and pervasive problem which has brought so much inequality and sense of insecurity among people in various communities. We can safely argue that homelessness is a problem in society.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) defines homelessness as a situation where a person lacks a secure accommodation, lacks tenure or lives in a dwelling that is inadequate. Being homeless could mean living on the streets and this could pose social costs on society. The ABS argues that males and females are equally likely to be homeless in Australia and people with mental health were more likely to be homeless. In the same vein, prolonged unemployment, divorce, or separation among others could fuel the flame of homelessness. To show a better perspective, the diagram shows the social and economic causes of homelessness.

Social causes

  • Natural disasters e.g., flooding, fire, earthquake
  • Separation or divorce
  • Population explosion
  • Poverty
  • Personal issues like separation or divorce
  • Mental health
  • Substance

Economic causes

  • Persistent unemployment
  • Lack of income
  • Inadequate economic growth
  • Low rate of savings
  • Economic recession

As the social housing crisis looms in Australia, with 50,000 low-income earners waiting to access housing in Queensland, the need to address homelessness as an existential threat is an absolute necessity. It takes the effort of well-meaning governments and the private sector to invest in housing that meets the needs of the vulnerable members of the population. As you may know, it is the responsibility of the government to provide housing due to welfare reasons whereas, most often than not, the private sector provides housing mainly for-profit motives.

Who provides housing for the population and why?

How do we solve the problem of homeless? To solve the problem of homelessness it is necessary that housing providers, private investors or governments pay attention to the following:

Job creation: a policy that encourages investment could support businesses to thrive and create jobs which in turn could provide adequate income to meeting the housing needs of employed persons.

Provide shelters: This is a temporary measure because it does not adequately solve the problem of homelessness. Hence, the provision of shelters should be mixed with alternative interventions such as employment which could help the homeless to find adequate and permanent accommodation.

Subsidise house rents: Currently where rents are soaring in major cities and most people are either experiencing rental stress or not being able to afford the house rents. This is a common pattern in major cities in Australia and it calls for urgent and utmost intervention through subsidies to reduce the effect of rental increase.

Homelessness is a crisis not just for the homeless but also for the wider population. When persons are homeless, they may pose threat to society by creating social problems like crime. When someone is experiencing physical or mental health issues, being homeless could worsen their health problems. Based on the disadvantages of homelessness, it makes sense that measures are put in place to address or alleviate the problem of homelessness. Thank you!

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