• Ending homelessness is more than just providing shelter


    Author: Damian Collins

    Homelessness remains a problem in our state and there is much to be done to help our fellow West Australians affected by this. National Homelessness Week kicks off on Monday 5 August, with this year’s campaign reminding Australians that ‘housing ends homelessness’.

    With homelessness coming in various forms from couch surfing, sleeping in a car, jumping from one short-stay accommodation to another and sleeping rough on the streets, this year’s theme aims to educate people that a home is more than just shelter, it provides safety and security, something that most of us take for granted.

    The private rental market plays a vital role in helping to provide safe, affordable and accessible housing. The Adelaide Bank and Real Estate Institute of Australia’s Housing Affordability Report revealed that in the March 2019 quarter, Perth is one of the most affordable cities compared to other capital cities in Australia.

    The report also notes that housing affordability in WA has increased by one per cent since March 2018. It is positive to see an improvement to making housing more affordable in our state, however not everyone has stable, functioning households and can access the private rental market.

    While there are big, systemic issues that are beyond the scope of any individual, there are still plenty of things landlords can do to help. Supporting victims of family violence is just one way landlords can make a difference.

    Family violence is a key contributor to homelessness. Victims of family violence suffer significant hardships when they are forced to leave a rental home. They are at risk of homelessness, loss of employment opportunities and disruption to their children’s education. They also frequently carry the financial burden when a tenancy ends, such as paying unpaid bills they are not wholly responsible for.

    REIWA recognises the role our industry plays in helping victims of family violence. With the introduction of the Residential Tenancies Act (Family Violence) Amendment Bill 2018, victims are now able to leave tenancies in which they feel unsafe. 

    If you would like to help, consider donating to The Salvation Army who provide much needed services to those in need such as meals, accommodation and crisis counselling.

    We all have a part to play in helping those who struggle to find appropriate housing opportunities. I encourage everyone to look at the small ways they can help make a big difference to those sleeping rough on our streets this Homelessness Week.

    Find out more information on what the Residential Tenancies Act changes for family violence mean for tenants. 

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