Being Poor in Australia

Being Poor in Australia is being considered homeless. So a strategic approach to reducing poverty is first providing a home. I am currently looking at a social enterprise that will seek to address this need. Let me know if you are interested to help.


From the Sydney Morning Herald

Life begins at 40 with a new home

By Jonathan Swan and Amanda Parkinson

Date: 06/09/2012

BILL KELLY, who sleeps under the bridge near the greyhound track at Wentworth Park, has had too much surgery for a man of 40.

Mr Kelly says he would rather live in a toilet block – at least then he could sleep at night without worrying about being bashed or pelted with rocks.n 22 years of sleeping rough, Mr Kelly has had many hospital visits after having his arms snapped by baseball bats, his skull walloped with a metal bar and skin scalded by liquid fat in violence homeless people often endure.

Thankfully he doesn’t have to. After years of applications and rejections, and several stints in prison, Mr Kelly says he has finally been promised a house.

This, of course, costs money, but how much would it cost to leave him under the bridge?

A new study, The Economic Costs of Sleeping Rough, has found the average cost of services provided every year to a homeless person in Sydney is $28,700. This is about $26,000 more than for the general population, according to the study’s authors, homelessness experts from the City of Sydney and partner organisations.

The estimate is based on interviews with 35 homeless people in inner Sydney and includes the cost of health, justice and social services but excludes welfare payments.

A total of $7 million is being spent annually to sustain 246 people who sleep rough in Sydney, the study says. In comparison, the researchers interviewed 15 former homeless people who had been living in supported housing for a year or more, and found the cost of services was $43,700 each a year, excluding accommodation.

But the study’s authors expect these costs to fall within two years and keep falling, because in the first year of supported housing, homeless people typically receive intense treatment, which tapers off over time.

Their expectation is bolstered by University of NSW research that found homeless people spent 60 per cent fewer days in hospital after being placed in housing.

“Access to housing, health and other services is one of our most basic human rights, but it’s also smart economics,” the homelessness unit manager at the City of Sydney, Liz Giles, said.

Mr Kelly says he knows little about his new house except the location, Woolloomooloo.

“I couldn’t care if it was in the back of Bourke or in a thunderbox,” he said. “I’ve got a chance to prove to society … I can go for my licence, I can get a car, get a job.”

“At 40 years of age, it feels like I’m now just turning 16, 17, ready to enjoy the world.”

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