Mission Australia chief executive officer James Toomey visits Port Macquarie

Team effort: Mission Australia chief executive officer James Toomey (fourth from left) meets with Port Macquarie staff members John Talamaivao, Karen Quinn, Kellie Ansell, Robyn George, Bev Bernard, Robyn Richardson and Nicole Rowe.
Team effort: Mission Australia chief executive officer James Toomey (fourth from left) meets with Port Macquarie staff members John Talamaivao, Karen Quinn, Kellie Ansell, Robyn George, Bev Bernard, Robyn Richardson and Nicole Rowe.

A combined effort and a national plan are needed to end homelessness in Australia, Mission Australia’s chief executive officer says.

Homelessness across the nation and in NSW is rising.

The most recent figures for Port Macquarie on Census night in 2016 recorded 280 homeless men, women and children without a permanent place to call home.

Mission Australia chief executive officer James Toomey encouraged the community to support Mission Australia’s call for a national plan to end homelessness by 2030.

“We know what works,” Mr Toomey said.

“We need a coherent national strategy and a long-term commitment from government to build new social and affordable homes.

“This requires commitment from all governments, the corporate sector, charities and individuals.”

He said a national homelessness strategy would be an incredibly important tool.

Mr Toomey said the national plan must also tackle the contributors to individual homelessness.

He said a range of issues contributed to homelessness.

The answer, he said, was organisations working together with a common purpose to end homelessness in Australia.

All tiers of government, organisations, developers and town planners are among those with a role to play.

Funding, commitment, leadership and a shared effort are part of the equation.

The homelessness problem goes beyond rough sleepers.

“The hidden homeless is that bit which society at large finds it difficult to conceive,” Mr Toomey said.

Mr Toomey also encouraged the community to join Everybody’s Home which calls for a commitment to end homelessness by 2030. 

People can get behind the multi-organisation campaign on its website, sign a petition and even make a donation.

The campaign seeks a better, fairer housing system for everyone.

Mr Toomey met with Mission Australia staff members during a visit to Port Macquarie on August 9.

Meanwhile, Mission Australia recently released a report about youth homelessness.

Young People’s Experiences of Homelessness report says 15.6 per cent of young people responding to Mission Australia’s Youth Survey 2017 experienced homelessness. 

This included those living in refuges, transitional accommodation and/or having spent time couch surfing.

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