Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Leader and Housing spokesperson
The Gutwein government has made a decent start on short term measures to help Tasmanians without a home during the COVID crisis, but must commit to a comprehensive plan to end the homelessness crisis they played such a key part in entrenching, once and for all.
As National Homelessness Week begins, and another brutal cold front moves across the state, more than 1,500 people remain homeless across Tasmania. Regrettably, it’s likely this number will only grow as we enter a deepening recession that has already cost thousands of Tasmanians their jobs.
Measures like the SafeSpace program are essential, but are not a substitute for meaningful, well funded policy to address the root cause of homelessness. We need to see short stay accommodation regulated properly, increased funding of social services, more investment in mental health support, and an expansion of the social housing construction plan.
The Liberals’ negligent approach to both vulnerable people and the housing market before the pandemic created a crisis that pushed hundreds of people onto the streets. They now have the chance to fix this situation.
Homelessness is a choice – not of the homeless, but of governments who fail to prioritise looking after vulnerable people. It is time for the Liberals to address this issue with the urgent seriousness it demands and to commit to making sure no Tasmanians are left out in the cold.