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The government’s $10 billion housing fund is a win for women

Parliament has passed reforms to address Australia’s homelessness crisis.
Woman with young child hanging out laundry to represent housing future fund helping homeless women

The federal government will invest $10 billion in social and affordable housing, in a move that frontline workers say will be “life-changing” for the vulnerable women and children who will benefit.

On any given night, 49,000 women are homeless in Australia, with women aged 55 and over the fastest growing group facing homelessness.

Parliament last week, on September 14, 2023, voted in support of the Housing Australia Future Fund, which seeks to ensue more Australians have a safe and affordable place to call home. 30,000 new homes will be built in the next five years, including 4000 for women and children impacted by family and domestic violence, or older women at risk of homelessness.

The announcement follows the Unhoused campaign, which was driven by a coalition of non-government organisations, The Weekly, and publisher ARE Media. Unhoused lobbied the government to commit to more housing for women and children.

The Weekly’s editor-in-chief Nicole Byers welcomed the housing fund announcement, saying everybody deserves somewhere safe and secure to live.

“For 90 years, The Weekly has covered issues that go to the heart of women’s health and security. The rate of homelessness among Australian women was so alarming, we had to go beyond simply reporting what was happening and demand the government act to address this crisis,” Nicole said. 

Working with frontline charities and NGOs like Homelessness Australia, The Weekly, shared the plight of Australian women who found themselves facing an uncertain future.

Among them was Rachael Natoli, a teacher and mother of twin boys, whose husband became abusive. Three weeks after fleeing her violent spouse, she and her boys found themselves standing on the street with nowhere to go. Rachael now runs the Lohaki Foundation, which supports survivors of domestic and family violence, and was part of Unhoused. 

The Unhoused campaign recognised that investing in long-term housing for women and children created the potential for them to turn their lives around.

Homelessness Australia CEO Kate Colvin said the positive outcome was a testament to the many voices that had joined the call to address the housing crisis.

“The homes delivered with this funding will be life changing for every woman and her family housed,” she said.

Are Media CEO Jane Huxley said the passage of the legislation is a great day for Australia’s most vulnerable particularly for women fleeing domestic violence and facing homelessness.

“Every day we hear from our readers about the struggles women, particularly those over 50, face finding a home after a marriage breaks down or they become victims of domestic violence,” Jane said.

“Because of the work of thousands of campaigners and a government that has recognised the growing homelessness crisis, the future for many Australians is just a little bit brighter.

“And while this crisis is not going to be fixed overnight, we are so pleased to see this significant step forward.”

What is the Housing Australia Future Fund 2023?

The Housing Australia Future Fund is the biggest investment in social and affordable housing in more than a decade and the most significant reforms to housing in a generation. It is backed by housing experts, community housing providers, and every state and territory Housing Minister. 

As part of the Unhoused campaign, in January, Are Media announced it would contribute $1 million in pro bono advertising space across its portfolio of omnichannel brands to be shared amongst homelessness, family violence sectors and women’s organisations working to solve women’s homelessness.

Are Media announced the first three recipients of the foundation: Youth Off the Streets, Housing All Australians, and Everybody’s Home, who were each allocated $250,000 in advertising and creative support to feature in Are Media brands in 2023.

Working with a coalition of the country’s leading housing organisations, Are Media’s “Unhoused” campaign, launched in 2022 aims to drive a significant increase in funding for safe homes for Australian women.

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