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Feb 22, 2012
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Further investment needed to help 20,000 homeless Victorians

Australians for Affordable Housing (AAH) today welcomed the Australian Medical Association’s Budget submission to the Victorian Government, calling for $2.8 million to provide 50 extra beds for homeless patients, but warned that the Government needs to do much more to address homelessness.

The AMA have recommended the State Government spend $2.8 million over the next four years so that homeless people who are discharged from hospital, have somewhere to sleep and aren’t using a hospital bed which may be needed by others.

AAH Campaign Manager Sarah Toohey said on any given night in Victoria, over 20,000 people are homeless.

“The AMA’s recommendation, if implemented by the State Government, would provide much needed support and assistance to those in crisis.

“However, this will only address one part of the problem. The reality is that the lack of affordable housing in Victoria means that people are continually cycling through the homelessness service system.

“The best way to address homelessness is to provide more secure, long-term affordable housing, and then make sure people have the help they need to stay housed.

 “In the long run it is much cheaper to provide long term housing than have people coming to emergency departments, just so they can have somewhere to sleep or because they’ve been injured or become sick from sleeping rough.

“The fact that doctors have identified this as a major issue – when their primary role is healthcare – is testament to the severity of this issue and the need for further State Government assistance,” Ms Toohey said.

 Australians for Affordable Housing is a coalition of national housing, welfare and community sector organisations to highlight the problem of housing affordability in Australia. For more information visit www.housingstressed.org.au

Spokesperson: Sarah Toohey, 0402 677 566/ Media enquiries: Stephanie De Campo, 0432 828 004
Follow AAH on Facebook and Twitter: @housingstressed

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