Discuss about the Homelessness Sustainability Challenges in Australia.
Homelessness is best defined as the condition or state of someone whose current living situation is inadequate, if their living situation does not have tenancy (or if their preliminary tenancy is neither extendable nor long, or if their living situation doesn’t let them own space for communal relationships (Chamberlain, Johnson & Robinson, 2014). Consistent with the Salvation Army in Australia, a major reason for being homeless or pennilessness are many such as unemployment, poverty, absence of inexpensive houses, low mental or physical well-being, abuse of alcohol and drugs, relationship and family failure, gambling, domestic savagery besides sexual and/or physical exploitation. Sustainability refers to a change process involving exploitation of resources and development towards achieving current and future needs of human beings.
Homelessness Sustainability Challenges in Australia
Homelessness can result from various circumstances such as family issues, divorce, poverty, unemployment and drug substance abuse among others. Addressing and preventing the challenges caused by these circumstances is complicated because their causes are of a varied nature. Furthermore, when addressing these challenges, there are processes and procedures followed making it time-consuming. Sustainability goes hand in hand with homelessness restoration. For instance, addressing homelessness does not necessarily mean placing a homeless person in a housing but it means offering diverse assistance to them so as to ensure sustainability in the long run (Patience, Alison & David, 2009).
This, in turn, helps reduce the re-occurrence of such cases in the future because the individuals sustainable level will be higher enabling them to tackle minor challenges as they arise. Homelessness is referred to as a wicked challenge. This is because people experience diverse cases of homelessness and solutions to those problems vary from an individual to another. In addition to this, it is relatively time-consuming to address the issue at each individual level. In Australia, people from all sections of the community including families, young people, seniors, international students, refugees and those seeking asylum can find themselves facing or experiencing homelessness (Cvetkovic, 2016). Homelessness in Australia is a major concern. The most likely challenges encountered are discussed below;
Insufficient Government Funding
The government is a separate entity capable of addressing homelessness, however, when the government does not issue enough funds to curb a challenge, the situation becomes worsened. For instance, the government should provide sufficient funds to critical investments and other committed organizations which aid in combatting sustainability problems. Another scenario is exhibited in The Victorian Budget 2018/19 which provides $49.9 million to ensure victim/survivors of family violence have access to the support they need to recover.
Yes, it is a big step but on the other hand, the funds are insufficient to address the various challenges faced by individuals. It isn’t all that much compared to the $690 million Lara prison funding that was also announced. But it’s difficult to point fingers at who is responsible for addressing the elements of the issue. There are too many stakeholders and not enough distinction for the issue to be addressed permanently (Svetlana & O'Laocha, 2016).
The National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness or NPAH is responsible for funding around 180 services and programs that assist around 80,000 vulnerable people each year. The group received renewed annual funding from the Federal Government every year for six years, which severely impacted the effectiveness of the services prior to renewal. Only after a public campaign and lobbying were changed to a two-year cycle allowing for effective help for the homeless.
This is a major sustainability challenge within Australia. For instance, US has experienced an increased population growth in poverty for two decades. This, in turn, increased the duration of poverty episodes and increased the isolation of the poor. There are several cases of wealth disparity between the rich and the poor. This, however, makes it difficult to address homelessness issues because the rich continue becoming richer and the poor become poorer. This goes even below the poverty line as opposed to equality.
This disparity favors the rich as they are in a better position to access more and better opportunities to curb their sustainability problems, unlike the poor who will remain in poverty. Those living below the poverty level line are disadvantaged because they cannot afford to sustain a liveable home like the rich. This makes them homeless. The basic cost of living is increasing and the difference between the rich and poor and lack of opportunities is a large contributor to the homelessness issue in Australia (Parsell and Marston, 2012).
The Key Laws, Policies, and Structures to Curb the Challenges.
There are several policies or structures used to control homelessness issues. For instance, the US imposed the Community Reinvestment Act which requires banks and other lending institutions to justify their lending practices to poor communities before expanding their markets. The policies and structures used by the Melbourne city to address the issue of homelessness sustainability are discussed below;
The Victorian Budget
This is the 2018/19 budget which provides $ 49.9 million to ensure that the victims of family violence have access to the support they needed to recover.
The National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness
This policy succeeded in funding around 180 services and programs that assist around 80,000 people who were more vulnerable. Every group received renewed annual funding from the federal government every year for six years which impacted the services, effectiveness prior to renewal (Department of Health & Human Services, 2017).
Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Plan
This was introduced following the outcry of Melbourne citizens over the homeless sustainability issue. The Victorian Government came up with this plan committed $45 million funds to address the homelessness issue. This primarily focused on rough sleepers as well as the provision of housing facilities and improvement of the same.
Key Stakeholders Affected by the Problem
Homelessness sustainability mostly affects youth in a given population. The youth are more vulnerable because of factors such as increased unemployment, family conflicts, and other personal factors. This has increased over the last few years. Victims of family violence, members of the LGTBIQ community, migrants and refugees without Australian citizenship, indigenous peoples, and those with mental health or substance dependency issues are also over-represented demographics accessing homelessness services (Sharam & Hulse, 2014).
There are rising cases of homelessness to people with mental problems or disabilities. Youth homelessness is normally caused by severe cases of social problems, shortage, inadequacy housing and low income.
Possible Actions to be taken by Stakeholders
Homelessness sustainability issue is not only confined to the local stakeholders; it is also a global disaster. According to a study done by Zuffrey (2016), there are over a million people worldwide who lack adequate shelter facilities and many more including those who may have shelter at a given moment, but lack security of tenure and access to basic facilities like clean water and adequate sanitation and drainage. Maimunah, Siti & Roziah (2015) argue that any decision to end homelessness must consider how to control the excess of capitalism and promote democracy of every level of society including the economic realm. However, there are actions that can be undertaken by stakeholders both at the local or global levels in an attempt of addressing the issue. These are discussed below;
According to Adeolu & Afolabi (2010), homelessness at the local level is caused by personal limitation factors such as mental illness, drug abuse and inability to sustain relationships. Individuals at the local level should come up with business ideas of starting microenterprises for them to achieve home stability. They should also engage themselves in community-based organizations to boost their living standards. The organizations normally support those who are needy and incapable to meet their housing needs.
National or Global Level
Consistent with Firth, Maye & Pearson (2011), organizing a coalition around the common human needs will help link homeless advocacy to other social change groups. This can be achieved by uniting with other community-based organizations worldwide. One step in ending homelessness is international financial reform, this helps control the national economies by restoring fixed exchange rates on currency to prevent speculative trading and control the movement of capital across national borders. Another agenda to reduce homelessness is by setting strategies to curb lobbying and campaign financing during political events. The government should also change the tax code system and ensure equal redistribution of income and wealth between the rich and the poor. The state should organize special programs to reach out the vulnerable groups such as the youth.
RMIT is committed to providing tertiary education worldwide for future shaping and sustainability. The organization engages students in learning various skills, concepts and values for future empowerment. They are required to contribute to the societies which the organization operates to promote sustainability. There are consequences implementing the discussed recommendations. An example is the financing lobbying. For instance, the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness was affected by lobbying and public campaigns changing the funding system to a two-year cycle.
The Victorian government budget of $ 45 million helped address the issue. However, it is complex to address all the stakeholder’s issues because each one has a different sustainability issue. In addition to this, if the particular issues are to be addressed differently, then the government would incur more costs and there is a high probability that the issue cannot be addressed permanently. As it can be seen from the discussion, youth are the victims of homelessness issue mostly caused by rising unemployment factor, however, it is complex to address the issue at the individual level because the government only deals with the community level and incapable of generating employment opportunities. This leads to inefficient utilization of skills, values, and attitudes learned at RMIT with the aim of promoting future sustainability.
These outcomes revive the subject of the extent of homelessness. Our study gives an evaluation of the quantities of individuals who encounter homelessness that complies with norms of sociology research yet, in addition, bypasses a considerable lot of the inclinations that faultfinders of past commonness studies have distinguished. The way that our rates are considerably higher than the rates given by studies of current pervasiveness underpins the commentators of those studies and addresses the need to reassess two conclusions that have been drawn from them.
In the first place, the greatness of the issue of homelessness is presumably considerably more prominent than the current common studies show. Second, in light of the fact that those studies overrepresent endless, long-haul homeless individuals, they twist our picture of who winds up homeless and erroneously overemphasize the significance of individual deficiencies as reasons for homelessness. Supported by apparently reliable confirmation from other studies, policymakers and researchers risk considerably overestimating the significance of the individual inconveniences of incessantly homeless individuals in understanding the reasons for homelessness.
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Department of Health Services, 2017. Victoria’s Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Plan. [Online]
Available at: https://dhhs.vic.gov.au/towards-home#victorias-homelessness-and-rough-sleeping-action-plan
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