A comment that is often directed at homeless people is “Go and get a job”.
The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics figures that were released on 24 July show that 16.5% of homeless people are working full-time. That means that 28,600 homeless people in Australia work full time.
The figures also show that more than one in three homeless people aged over 15 years work part-time. That’s 61,500 people in some kind of work who don’t earn enough to put a roof over their head.
That means that almost half of the homeless population – 45.6% is either in work or looking for work with the unemployment rate for homeless people being 22.5%.
The 2016 census showed that homelessness has jumped by more than 16% in the five years from 2011-2016. The biggest increase has been in the 19 to 34 year old age group.
The meaning of all of this is that housing is too expensive, and it is impossible to live on some wages, particularly part-time wages or Centrelink payments. These figures put the cuts to penalty rates into perspective. These cuts will directly lead to homelessness.
The Victorian Socialists call for:
· 10,000 new public housing dwellings to be built every year
· Mandate 20% of all new developments to provide public housing
· Freeze rent increases for five years
· Rent increases to be capped at CPI
· Increase all Centrelink payments at least to the Henderson Poverty Line – that would mean around a $170 per week increase
· Enforce and increase minimum wages
· Abolish anti-union laws that make it difficult for workers to organise for wage increases.
· Force employers to offer permanent employment to casual workers after three months.