Families experiencing homelessness is a growing social problem. Service providers in communities across the country are seeing more families living in caravan parks, on the streets, in cars, and in overcrowded dwellings with neighbours and friends.
While the numbers continue to escalate, the federal government has failed to respond and funding only a fraction of what is required to stem the tide.
Housing is essential to ending homelessness, but it is not sufficient. Families also need basic supports in addition to decent affordable housing to thrive: food, education, employment, child care, transportation, health and mental health care, and children’s services.
Families can prosper in communities that provide social and cultural supports, and when they are connected to networks of family, friends, and neighbours. Families experiencing homelessness are no different, but their needs are made worse the unrelenting stress and trauma of homelessness and by extreme poverty.
State and Federal government policies have not designated families experiencing homelessness as a priority requiring urgent attention. Resources for families experiencing homelessness remain scarce and the community services sector has failed to call for a comprehensive national response.
Ending family homelessness requires increased investment that is on the same scale as the problem.