Social services groups have welcomed the government’s $115 million pledge for homelessness funding but say there is more work to be done on a long-term plan.
The federal government has breathed another year of life to the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness (NPAH), which was due to lapse on June 30 because it had not been budgeted for.
It will mean about 180 homelessness services across the nation will continue to provide services to vulnerable Australians until at least June 30, 2015.
Homelessness Australia said the funding would give people such as victims of domestic violence and those suffering from health and mental health issues somewhere safe to sleep for another year.
But the sector has called for the formulation of long-term solutions to tackle homelessness.
Mission Australia said it was essential that federal and state governments come together to put a new multi-year agreement in place.
“We can’t afford to let another year go by without a long-term plan. That is what happened last year,” spokesman Martin Thomas said in a statement on Sunday.
The Australian Council of Social Services said a new agreement should focus on developing a proper national affordable housing plan to increase the supply of affordable houses.
“We have a problem and there’s more work to be done,” CEO Cassandra Goldie told AAP.
The federal opposition said the announcement was cold comfort to those agencies reliant on the funds.
It meant a cut of $44 million off the original $159 million NPAH plan, which included $43 million for housing infrastructure and $4 million into homelessness research.
“In the government’s eyes, anything that’s more than zero dollars is a funding injection,” opposition housing spokeswoman Jenny Macklin said.
Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews said the government will consider long-term arrangements on housing policy over the next year, with talks with the sector and the states and territories.
He also called on the state and territory governments to add their share to the deal so that there will be $230 million in total for services next financial year.