Sunday, June 28, 2015

When people are still suffering homelessness

When a problem is getting bigger

This year I really started to think differently about a cause that I have been supporting and feel very strongly about. I don’t profess to know everything about homelessness or government policy but I do think at times that questions need to be answered and we need to re assess when something is not as effective as we would like it to be or as it should be based on previous statistics.

For the past 5 years I have supported the CEO Sleep out and also donated training to some of the residence of St Vincent’s De Paul “Kennedy House” in Goulburn. This meant a great deal to me both personally and professionally and I felt like we were making a real contribution to fighting a very worthy cause, Homelessness. The men who attended the training really gained some positive benefits from basic computer training, goal setting and building confidence.

Contributing to the CEO sleep out

As CEO’s we slept outside for a night in winter and raised money in support of our sleep out, this also brought great awareness to the public of the problems we have around homelessness in Australia. To see the statistics every year was just heartbreaking. The ACT has the second highest rate of homelessness in Australia and we were fighting a good fight to help reduce the problems and support St Vincent De Paul to keep their services going.

In 2011 I spoke to 300 CEO’s about what our contribution was doing at Kennedy house  and I was really excited to know we collectively were making a real difference. This year however I have some serious question yet don’t know where to find the answers. CEO Sleep-out clip 2011

If Homelessness is increasing and specifically in Canberra over the past 4 years what are we doing or more importantly what are we not doing? How can this be getting worse not better?
We raise more money; have more programs, more accommodation, yet homelessness throughout Australia is increasing every year to staggering numbers.

  •  If we are raising more money every year why is homelessness increasing?
  •  Why should a shelter be shut down just because a Tender changes (we just increased homelessness)
  •  Why do we need to re open tenders when the programs in place are working? Specifically when this effects human lives, safety and security (the most basic human needs)
  • Do our politicians realise a change in government has such a devastating effect on the less fortunate? 
If a new tender is required why can’t we ensure the protection of the programs that are working with the successful tenderer? Opposed to the new initiatives that cost to set up and run that are not yet tried and tested.

Last year a new initiative stated “our mission is to keep people in their homes” and support them, domestic violence support and drug addiction support, but what about those that didn’t have homes to be able to stay in them? What about the person that needs to flee for their life or that off their children? What about young people on the streets because they have no where to go?

In my mind education is the key to choice and the key to change and I feel very strongly about supporting causes that lead to change, even if it’s a small change, I guess that’s why I am confused about the efforts that are made but the increase in the problem. Maybe the education needs to start with people who are on six figure incomes and don’t understand the impact of their policy decisions.

Just a thought.

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