Jesuit Social Services has joined more than 50 non-profit organisations and peak bodies across the country in signing an open letter to Minister for Social Services Scott Morrison, calling for the Federal Government to commit to a four-year National Homelessness Partnership Agreement.
The services are currently in limbo as the government has refused to commit to extending the $115million National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness, which provides funding for more than 90 programs in Victoria alone and will expire on June 30.
The letter was coordinated by peak body Homelessness Australia, whose CEO Glenda Stevens said up to 180 homelessness services could face closure if the agreement is ceased, impacting around 80,000 clients.
In part, the letter reads “This year is the third year in a row that homelessness services have been on tenterhooks as to whether we can continue our work. We cannot negotiate with our staff whose contracts soon expire. We cannot tell clients that the programs they have relied on will continue. We must carefully deliberate whether to accept new clients into those programs which have a long-term delivery model.”
It also points out that the “lack of certainty that a one-year funding cycle creates” has significant impact for many vulnerable groups including women and children fleeing domestic violence, young people who can’t stay with their families and long-term rough sleepers.
Other signatories to the letter include the Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS), the Salvation Army, Anglicare and the Council to Homeless Persons.
Click here to read the letter.