Australia needs more social housing. That’s it

There are numerous articles and press conferences with Australia’s prime minister talking about the nation being one, and about being guided by his wife Jenny in different aspects of his life. Scott Morrison has been captured with eyes closed and hands raised to the sky in prayer and has shared in public that on occasion he has practised the laying on of hands, a Pentecostal tradition of healing.

We take a deep breath contemplating that thought and that image and exhale with the emotional reality of what we have been given by our leader.

There’s been a number of media stories about the growing rates of homelessness in Australia and the complete failure to even articulate the issue in passing by the same prime minister who has said that he lays his hands on people to provide them with comfort and healing.

The nation needs far more housing. That’s it. More social housing for those who will never engage in home ownership simply because it’s beyond their capacities, as their work doesn’t guarantee long term assurances and as people don’t want to live with debt.

The federal government on one hand provides funds to corporations without ensuring that expenditure on programs is identifiable, and on the other hand makes claiming jobseeker and maintaining accessibility to the payment a traumatic experience during a global pandemic.

Many Aboriginal young people especially, who left school early with lower literacy skills, simply don’t even bother logging on to Centrelink to request their basic right of jobseeker payments because they struggle to use online services and are forever tied into the generational trauma of accessing a government service they distrust.

Where does that lead us to? Homelessness. Living in a home of someone else, sleeping on a lounge isn’t accommodation, it is accepted as homelessness. How many Aboriginal communities, missions, houses have additional occupants that aren’t really housed in the true sense of the term?

Multiply that number with those who have come from jails similarly lacking in literacy who often have orders preventing them from returning to their home communities.

Multiply that number with Aboriginals and non-Aboriginals who society has simply forgotten, who for a variety of reasons simply choose to live in isolation or can’t find their way back to what we consider modern living and who are for all purposes homeless.

What’s happening for these people during a global pandemic and rising rental and ownership costs within Australia? Nothing. What is happening is that many city dwellers, flushed with city housing riches are cashing out and taking up the residential markets in regions and small towns, again impacting the less fortunate who don’t have support from social service providers because the funding is on a shoestring budget across the nation.

Australian society is heading for a massive collapse unless we change our attitudes and protect the most vulnerable instead of holding them to a higher standard than the rest of us with assets, transport and societal connections and positioning.

It’s time to act and care for one another.

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