The National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness (NPAH) funds around 180 programs and services for people who are experiencing, or at risk of homelessness. These programs assist 80,000 people each year and employ more than 3,000 staff.
Originally a three-year agreement between the Commonwealth and State/Territory governments, The NPAH has been 'renewed' annually for the last two years (2012-13 and 2013-14).
Annual funding severely impacts on services' ability to operate efficiently and to forward plan. The practise of announcing renewals just months before expiration of the previous iteration of NPAH creates much uncertainty negatively impacts on those experiencing, or at risk of homelessness.
Homelessness Australia lobbyied the Federal Government, and the Minister for Social Services, to renew the NPAH funding for a minimum of two years, and to make this announcement immediately.
What needs to be done:
- At least two years renewal of NPAH funding
- An immediate announcement of that renewal
Already, services are being forced to wind-back programs and turn clients away. Experienced staff are looking, or have already moved, into new employment. Any contacts (eg rents) cannot be renewed longer term, resulting in higher costs.
Thank you to everyone who took part in the campaign. We are pleased to announce that on Monday 23 March, the Minister announced two years of funding under the NPAH.
What is the NPAH?
The National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness (NPAH) commenced in January 2009. Joint funding is required from states and territories.
The National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness contributes to the National Affordable Housing Agreement outcome, to help:
"people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness achieve sustainable housing and social inclusion."
The agreement focuses on three key strategies to reduce homelessness:
- prevention and early intervention to stop people becoming homeless
- breaking the cycle of homelessness
- improving and expanding the service response to homelessness.
The programs supported by the NPAH have improved services delivery, driven innovation, produced new service models and built capacity. Some of these programs are A place to call home, Street to home, and Safe at Home.
More information on the NPAH: https://www.dss.gov.au/our-responsibilities/housing-support/programmes-services/homelessness/national-partnership-agreement-on-homelessness
What will happen without the NPAH?
Most programs funded by the NPAH will close. This will have follow-on effects in homelessness and domestic voiolence organisations. Demand on other programs will dramatically increase and this demand will unable to be met. Other programs, that are tailored to work with NPAH programs, but not funded by NPAH, will be unable to achieve their outcomes, are also at risk.
80,000 clients are supported each year, to rebuild their lives, by programs funded under the NPAH. Without these programs many of these clients will be unable to be assisted, and will remain homeless or fall into homelessness.
In 2013-14, 423 requests for assistance from homelessness services were unable to be met each day. Without NPAH services, this number will dramatically increase.
Additionally, approximately 3,400 staff are employed by programs funded by the NPAH. It is likely many of these staff will be made redundant.
In 2014, Homelessness Australia lobbied the then-Minister (Kevin Andrews) for NPAH funding renewal. Following our campaign, the Minister announced a further one-year extension to the NPAH funding. This was announced on 31 March 2014., just three months berofe the funding expired.
In 2015, we are advocating for certainty. We are calling for an end to this one-year cycle.
In February, more than 60 CEO's of homelessness and domestic violence services, peak and advocacy bodies signed an open letter to the Minister calling for long-term funding.
We are now lobbying the government to announce funding for the NPAH before it is too late.
You can get involved in the campaign for NPAH funding:
- We have drafted a letter your service can use to send to the Minister or your local MP.
- Even if your service is not funded under the NPAH we would encourage you to get involved. The defunding of a neighbouring service will affect the demand for your service.
- Use our email footers (you can find them further down the page). Add them to your electronic correspondence or use them on your social media.
- If you use social media, follow Homelessness Australia and re-tweet, share and like our posts.
- Contact your local newspaper and radio station and tell them what may happen if we do not receive an announcement.