Saturday, July 5, 2008

Homeless face 'roundabout of rejection'

A new report has found that once a person becomes homeless, it's difficult to live a secure life ever again.

The report by the Wesley Mission welfare agency was based on a survey of more than 200 people living in inner Sydney shelters over a six-week period.

It found that most of the city's homeless have held a job but were forced onto the streets - or into shelters - after getting into serious debt.

The head of Wesley Mission, Reverend Keith Garner, says while drugs and alcohol compounded their problems, it wasn't the main pathway to homelessness.

He says the report again highlights that a national approach is required, which canvasses policies across a range of government agencies.

"Too many of our homeless people end up on a roundabout of rejection, from one place to the next," he said.

"Some find themselves not only in emergency shelters but in hospital psychiatric wards and then back on the streets.

"We need more than temporary and episodic solutions to a long-term problem."

Housing Minister Tanya Plibersek says the Federal Government will address many of the issues highlighted in the report in its white paper, due out in September.

She says it is a national problem, and there are no quick fixes.

"Local government, state governments and the Federal Government all need to lift our game when it comes to dealing with people who've been homeless," she said.

"That's true in the area of mental health, it's also true at the federal level when it comes to Centrelink and housing affordability. There are tasks for every level of government."


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