Describe about the Contemporary Debates in Social Work Practice.
The social issue chosen for describing the social work is homelessness. Homelessness is defined as the situation or experience that are faced by people who are not able in accessing secure, safe, accessible and affordable housing. The concept of homelessness is widely consistent with the relative definition of the three different levels of homelessness. There are different data that forecasts the state of homelessness in Australia. Research have been conducted previously regarding the situation of homelessness that includes many issues such as causes of homelessness, activities of social workers and governments to improve the condition of those people in the country of Australia (Parsell et al., 2013). Government of Australia defined the concept of housing as a basic need for human. It has also stated that the condition of homelessness is a state of violation of the basic right of human not only in Australia but also in other parts of the world. Social worker along with government of Australia is cautious about the fact. It has taken many steps to improve the condition of the homeless people. However, the essay consists of various issues of homelessness in Australia. The causes of homelessness include poverty. It is the main reason that people are not able to afford houses for living in Australia. Apart from that, social isolation, cultural ego, financial difficulties can also come in the range of factors that helps in increasing homelessness among the people of Australia. People who are living in minimum standards of living are also considered as homeless people.
Homelessness is a burning issue that is prevalent in the society of Australia from a decade ago. There are measures and programs taken by Australian government and many other Non-government organizations on behalf of the victims of homelessness. Nevertheless, they are many times some of the policies and methods are not worked properly according to the goals accomplished to it. The social workers are focused on various topics such as housing stress, undertaking research, education, social policy development, supervision, consultancy, training and evaluation. Social work related to the homelessness is focused on the well-being of families, individuals and community as a whole (Homeless people's problems grow, 2016). Maximization of the social work emphasize on the different principles of human dignity and social justice. Previously social work has not been committed properly towards integrity, service to humanity and competence. The government organization for social work that has contributed a lot for the people affecting from homelessness is Australian Association of Social Workers (Parsell et al., 2013). The organization is focused on providing care and income support to family, health and child welfare to the victims of the country. Apart from these, many other societies such as Red Cross society who is recognises as renowned social working organization in Australia are focused in many activities for the homeless people. The services provided to the homeless victims by Red Cross society are
- street to home,
- reintegration service to youth homeless people,
- service hub for homelessness,
- accommodation support service for homelessness and
- Mentors program and personal helpers to the homelessness workers (Sharam & Hulse, 2014).
The above-mentioned methods and approaches are practiced not only in the past but also in the current scenario. In this case, the situation is different. Hence, the effectiveness of the measures would be different. The objectives of the social work that would be set for reducing the current situation of the Australian society must address the challenges faced by the organizations in accomplishing the goals set for them. However, Australian government in the year of 2008 has released a White paper that emphasize on homelessness. The name of the paper is “The Road Home: A National Approach to reducing homelessness”. The strategies are formulated up to the year of 2020 in order to guide homelessness (Peterson, 2015). The aim of these strategies in the is to make positive efforts on reducing the number of homeless people that are gradually increasing due to the increase of population. However, the initiatives of White paper are categorized into
- expanding the improving services,
The turning off the tap strategies are referred to the services ensuring the quick response in stopping people in becoming homelessness. Some of the strategies include increasing support in providing rental of the houses of homeless people, assisting youth to become concentrated towards their families; providing a network that engages various community engagement officers while providing specialised services to the homeless people (Sharam & Hulse, 2014). On the other hand the second category includes strategies that are not limited on housing of the victims. The strategies put stresses on economic, health and social participation. Expanding service includes development in technology, specialist service to homeless people, testing on various types of funding models and improvement in the quality service of the specialist services. The breaking cycle phase illustrates some strategies that help the homeless people to get into the system in a quick manner. Older people are privileged under this category along with upgrading and building houses in the backdated indigenous communities. Apart from that, the rough sleepers are targeted by the assertive outreach of the programs (Chamberlain et al., 2014).
The other national organizations along with Australian government focus on the governance, implementation and research on this topic. The implementation part of the methods and approaches of the White paper are the initiatives that are useful in a way so that they can be implemented in the different territories of Australia. The objective behind this is to maintain the consistency in the expected outcomes. There are different types of funds that are funded by the Government of Australia to the National Partnership Agreement (Australian Government, 2016). Approximately $230 million are provided to this for the factor of Homelessness in the year 2017. $1.3 billion amount is provided to various states and territories of Australia by the Australian government. From this amount, approximately $260 million are allocated for the homeless victims. Australian government that focuses either on assisting various youths who are homeless or at the risk of getting homelessness initiates a program known as “Reconnect”. A sum of amount $23.8 million per annum are invested in the program for the development purpose (Australian Red Cross, 2016).
The issue of homelessness is not only prevalent in Australia but also it is present across all other countries of the world. Many factors lead to homelessness among people of the country. The factors of political, cultural, social, economic and global affects the policies and strategies that are formulated by government and other non-government organizations of Australia.
Political factors of Australia are stable enough of creating an impact on the field of homelessness. According to Australian government, homelessness is a condition that is not referred to as a basic condition for the human (Parsell & Moutou, 2014). Hence, a state is not considered as the state of law. The political influences of the country both have some positive and negative impact on commencing new strategies regarding the homeless victims of Australia. There are many agreements that are associated with the different aspects of homelessness. It is discussed earlier that there are many investments that are funded by government that requires many permissions and stages to reach in the field (McLoughlin & Carey, 2013). If the political disturbance is present among the country, then the rate of implementation of the policies of the government organizations hinders in the process. The political condition is also responsible for the processing of the funds that are collected for implementation of different strategies for the homeless victims.
The social cause is the vital aspect that raises the numbers of homeless people in Australia. Many researches illustrate the social circumstances of the people causing homelessness (Oldfield et al., 2015). The social factors include mental illness, family and domestic violence, traumatic events, addictions, disability and physical health. The social influences not only create impact on the government of Australia but also the people that are prone to homelessness. The social factors also include the social structure of the society that influences people to become homelessness in different parts of the country. Statistics have shown that homeless people are not always poor. Many social factors have forced too many youths and children to flee from house (Gough, 2015). They usually dwell in supported accommodation, boarding houses, impoverished dwellings, etc.
Australian culture is famous for its heritage and diversity. There are different types of cultures that are prevalent in the Australia. According to the cultural variations, homelessness is divided into three categories such as primary homelessness, secondary homelessness and tertiary homelessness. Linguistic diversity and cultural diversity are responsible for the increase of homelessness and the decreased productivity of the strategies that are implemented by Australian government to help the victims of homelessness and the people that are likely to become homeless (McDonald, 2014). Census of 2011, suggests that the number of tertiary and secondary homelessness are increasing in number due to the cultural differences. The cultural variations are also responsible for the worse condition of the existing homeless people in the country. Apart from the worse effect on the existing homeless victims, the youths are also becoming homeless due to many social and cultural issues (Jordan, 2015). The society of Australia is not developed enough to accept the people from African and other Asian origin. Hence, it causes mental illness. The concept of mental illness is also positively related to the concept of homelessness. The tortures that the homeless people are suffering and the youths result in mental illness. Apart from that, the behaviour of the people is the cause that gives rise to mental illness that finally leads to homelessness (Flatau et al., 2015). The policy of government and other organizations that are aided by Australian government are trying to focusing on these aspects so that their strategies can perform well in the field of the homelessness. The most important factor that affects the rate of homeless victims in Australia is the economic factor. The economy of Australia is stable enough (Hudson & White, 2015). There are social classes that contain the three classes of people namely higher income group people, middle-income group people and lower income group people. The lower income group people belong to the category of primary homeless victims. The economical state of Australia is also responsible for increasing the condition of homeless people. The cost of daily use things is very high. It is impossible for them to afford the general amenities of life to a minimum level. Hence, the economic factor positively raises the rate of primary homeless people in Australia (Roberts, 2015).
The core objective of the social work regarding the concept of homelessness is to diminish the rate of homelessness in Australia. Apart from that, many additional objectives support the primary, secondary and tertiary homeless victims in Australia. The social workers face many challenges regarding the homelessness condition in Australia. The main challenge that the social workers and many organizations helping the homeless victims are related to the collection fund. Sometimes the funds are not reached from the government to the organizations (Peterson, 2015). It leads to the delay of the implementation of the strategies that are formulated by the social work and organizations that are focused to meet the objectives of the organizations and the social workers. The problems of the social workers also lie in understanding the current causes that increase the number of victims of homelessness in Australia. It is seen that the social works are done based on the research works that was conducted earlier. It is one of the major drawbacks of the social works that are commenced for improving the society of Australia against homelessness. The old research works are not capable enough to provide the current data about the situation of homelessness in Australia. Hence, the strategies that are being formulated based on these reports will not provide the expected outcomes (Batterham et al., 2015).
Lack of market research and lack of finding the cause of homelessness among various parts of Australia are responsible for mismatch of the desired result and the actual outcomes. However, it can be seen that the degree of effectiveness of the strategies that are previously formulated are not higher than the present formulated strategies. Government of Australia has to take into considerations about different causes of the homelessness in different states and territories of Australia. Apart from that, funds are to be sanctioned in proper places based on the priority and necessity (Bullen, 2015). Many newspaper articles and journal articles published that the policies and initiatives of government of Australia to eradicate the situation of homelessness is not up to the mark. It illustrates that the government is sanctioning money for the improvement, but it is not utilized properly in proper places. The programs are initiated for the benefit of the homeless victims (Gough, 2014). However, it is seen that the initial goals of the organization are not matching with the goals set for the programs by them. In the aspect of culture, the social and cultural factors are increasing the number of people suffering from mental illness. The mentally retarded people are the major victims of homelessness. Lack of effort in the field of mental illness is also considered as the hindrance factor of the homeless people (Milbourne & Cloke, 2013).
Homelessness is mostly found among indigenous Australians. There are ongoing effects that are caused by homelessness are on employment experiences, schooling, physical and mental health. Census 2011 estimated that approximately 26,743 indigenous population are the victims of homelessness which constitutes up to 28%. The Census describes that 1 out of 284 people are homeless people. The diagram will explain the experience of the Indigenous people regarding the social issue of homelessness. The effect of homelessness have direct and indirect impacts on their life.
Figure 1Effect of homelessness on Indigenous people of Australia
(Source: Homelessness among Indigenous Australians 2016)
The essay focuses on the works of various social workers of Australia who are involved in many works that reduces the rate of homeless people in Australia. Apart from that, the comparison between past workers of the social workers along with their present workers is also mentioned in a detailed way in the essay. Basic human rights do not support the situation of homelessness in any countries of the world. The response of human rights includes the approaches of Australian government that are taken by them in order to provide home, education and other basic amnesties of life for the homeless people of Australia (Sharam & Hulse, 2014). The impact of homelessness affects various issues such as freedom of expression, movement, association, right to vote, social security, etc. These rights are the basic human rights that are affected due to the situation of homelessness in Australia. The essay considers contemporary challenges faced by the organizations to fulfil their commitment towards reducing the rate of homeless people in Australia (Gough, 2014). The social work practice of Australia regarding homelessness has many global influences that can be categorized into cultural, economic and political aspects. The essay focuses on the above aspects in detail so that the readers can get a deeper understanding of the current situation of the country along with the measures that are taken by the social working organizations and Australian government for improvement. However, it can be concluded that the social works must consider the factors that cause homelessness so that they can formulate proper measures to save the victims from homelessness (Batterham et al., 2015).
Batterham, D., Cigdem, M., Mallett, S., & Wood, G. (2015). The geography and drivers of homelessness in Australia. Parity, 28(2), 6.
Bullen, J. (2015). Governing homelessness: The discursive and institutional construction of homelessness in Australia. Housing, Theory and Society,32(2), 218-239.
Chamberlain, C., Johnson, G., & Robinson, C. (Eds.). (2014). Homelessness in Australia. UNSW Press.
Flatau, P., Thielking, M., MacKenzie, D., & Steen, A. (2015). The Australian youth homeless experience: Evidence from a longitudinal survey of homeless youth. Parity, 28(3), 4.
Gough, I. (2014). Case Management as a Key Response to Homelessness in Australia. Parity, 27(3), 9.
Gough, I. (2015). How early intervention and prevention underpins the Victorian response to youth homelessness. Parity, 28(3), 46.
Homeless people's problems grow. (2016). TheAustralian. Retrieved 19 October 2016, from https://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/homeless-peoples-problems-grow/story-fn59niix-1225895302537
Homelessness - Helping Homeless People | Australian Red Cross. (2016). Redcross.org.au. Retrieved 19 October 2016, from https://www.redcross.org.au/homelessness.aspx
Homelessness | Department of Social Services, Australian Government. (2016). Dss.gov.au. Retrieved 19 October 2016, from https://www.dss.gov.au/housing-support/programmes-services/homelessness
Homelessness among Indigenous Australians (AIHW). (2016). Aihw.gov.au. Retrieved 21 October 2016, from https://www.aihw.gov.au/indigenous-observatory/reports/homelessness/
Hudson, N., & White, L. (2015). Engage and empower young people to prevent homelessness. Parity, 28(3), 44.
Jordan, E. (2015). What does it mean for a young person to be'at risk'of homelessness. Parity, 28(3), 30.
McDonald, S. (2014). Social partnerships addressing affordable housing and homelessness in Australia. International Journal of Housing Markets and Analysis, 7(2), 218-232.
McLoughlin, P., & Carey, G. (2013). Re-framing the links between homelessness and health: Insights from the Social Determinants of Health Perspective. Parity, 26(10), 20.
Milbourne, P., & Cloke, P. J. (2013). International perspectives on rural homelessness. Routledge.
Oldfield, R., Thielking, M., MacKenzie, D., Flatau, P., & Steen, A. (2015). The role of resilience in a homeless youth population. Parity, 28(3), 28.
Parsell, C., & Moutou, O. (2014). An evaluation of the nature and effectiveness of models of supportive housing. AHURI Positioning Paper,158, i-46.
Parsell, C., Jones, A., & Head, B. (2013). Policies and programmes to end homelessness in Australia: Learning from international practice. International Journal of Social Welfare, 22(2), 186-194.
Peterson, M. (2015). Introduction: Homelessness is an ageing policy issue. Parity, 28(6), 9.
Roberts, C. (2015). Preventing homelessness among seniors in Western Australia. Parity, 28(6), 37.
Sharam, A., & Hulse, K. (2014). Understanding the nexus between poverty and homelessness: relational poverty analysis of families experiencing homelessness in Australia. Housing, Theory and Society, 31(3), 294-309.