Hunter councils and a number of businesses have signed a pledge to end homelessness in Newcastle and the Hunter region.
The pledge is an initiative of the region’s Big Ideas Homelessness Network. Those signing the pledge are required to take action to reduce homelessness. Every year they will be asked to renew their pledge and report on what they have achieved.
Chair of the network, Professor David Adamson OBE from Compass Housing, said homelessness has become the clearest expression of inequality and poverty in Australia. David said eradicating poverty cannot be achieved without eradicating homelessness.
“Homelessness in Newcastle and the Hunter is not an intractable problem – it can be solved if the whole community is supportive,” David said.
“Every business, agency and resident, has a stake in preventing homelessness and supporting people who experience homelessness.
“Individuals, local businesses, community groups and governments can contribute to achieving an overall goal of providing permanent, affordable housing and the support that people need to create and keep a home.”
He said the pledge is an important first step to enlist and embed support from a broader range of the community not just those servicing homeless people. It has been used effectively in other cities overseas, including in Canada, the USA, Wales and Scotland.
The new, national Everybody’s Home five-point plan to fix Australia’s housing system calls for action to end homelessness by 2030. The latest 2016 Census figures, released by the ABS in March show homelessness rates are on the rise, up 12% in the Hunter since the last Census.
“The pledge and the other work of The Big Ideas Network is about realising that goal of ending homelessness,” David said.
“Housing is a fundamental human right.”
David thanked those businesses and organisations who had already come on board and encouraged others to get involved.
The Newcastle and Hunter Big Ideas Homelessness Network is a collaborative steering group made up of representatives from the community and agencies who have an interest in ending homelessness. It is facilitated by Compass Housing and meets quarterly to share information, ideas and resources.
IMAGE | Morgan Long and Katy Mooney from Sparke Helmore with the pledge. Sparke Helmore was one of the initial signatories.