Homelessness is on the rise in our community with over 105,000 people experiencing homelessness every night in Australia. Homelessness includes people who are sleeping rough, as well as people who are staying in temporary, unstable or substandard accommodation.
Homelessness does not discriminate and can affect anyone – from young, single people to families with children, to our older population. A staggering 20,000 people in Queensland are experiencing homelessness.
Homelessness is not a choice. The biggest cause of homelessness is family and domestic violence, followed by financial difficulties. The largest proportion of Australia’s homeless population are unseen, living a vagrant lifestyle, moving from one place to the next, are often forgotten, and can become lost in the ‘system’.
The physical and emotional impacts of homelessness on people includes social isolation, a higher risk of early death due to increased medical conditions such as Diabetes, heart attack, stroke, organ problems and mental health.
Homelessness Australia’s CEO Glenda Stevens stated in an article posted on the 12th Sep 2014 that the average life expectancy of men experiencing chronic homelessness across Australia, is between 45 and 47 years of age. Which is a startling statistic. The average life expectancy of a man living in Somalia is 48.86 years.
“So if you’re a man in Somalia, you can expect to live longer than a man experiencing chronic homelessness in some parts of Australia.”
Figures from Victoria’s Salvation Army Flagstaff Accommodation show life expectancy is only about 45.
Whilst research from Hobart’s only men’s shelter, Bethlehem House, found that the average age of death for 41 men who had stayed there over a decade was about 48.
These life expectancy figures are the only ones available. No one’s ever accounted for the life expectancy of homeless men nationwide.
Ironically, it costs more to ignore our homeless problem than it does to fix it. Consider the estimate that homelessness alone costs the Australian economy over $5.1 billion per year. While the Australian Government invests $115 million annually to address the issue of homelessness through the (National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness) this is insufficient funding to address the problem and as a result has not led to any noticeable reduction in homelessness.
Read The Conversation’s article to learn more: https://theconversation.com/supportive-housing-is-cheaper-than…