Wesley Mission Report Families are the Hidden Face of Homelessness

A Wesley Mission report has estimated that between a quarter and a third of the homeless population in Australia are whole families, and not individuals as you may think. The report also shows a growing number of families in Sydney are being displaced by a critical shortage of rental accommodation, particularly those that are struggling with mental health issues.

The report is the result of a study of 50 homeless families and examines their experiences, the causes of homelessness and the impact on the children involved. As part of a 11 point plan to help homeless families, Wesley Mission has also called for increased community and a shift towards more appropriate integrated models of care, plus a more flexible system for families applying for accommodation.

CEO of Wesley Mission, the Rev Dr Keith Garner, said –

Alarmingly, the population of homeless families is on the rise. They are in our suburbs, sleeping on the floor in a relative or friend’s house, sleeping in their car, living in a refuge after they’ve left a violent partner, sitting patiently at Centrelink trying to arrange emergency accommodation or living with their three kids in a motel room until a vacancy comes up on the long waiting list for public housing. They’re mostly young, more often than not women, and they are almost always accompanied by young children. A growing number of families who have never experienced homelessness before have the overwhelming impression that the welfare system is complex, confusing and alienating.

The most common reason for family homelessness was domestic violence, which accounts for 40% of people leaving home, almost double the second most quoted cause – relationship breakdown or divorce. The report also revealed that newly homeless families did not know where to turn for help, with many people often disconnected from their support networks.

By making a donation, you can help fund the ground breaking work carried out by the Wesley Mission. It’s thanks to people like you that they can continue to work with the community to come to the aid of those who are homeless and without hope.

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