Image for PETITION: Ending Homelessness in Australia ASAP

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I have launched a petition on Change.org, calling on the Australian parliament to end homelessness in Australia, ASAP.

I invite all who are concerned about homelessness, to sign this petition ~

https://www.change.org/p/the-hon-tony-smith-mp-ending-homelessness-in-australia-asap

What would happen if every Australian citizen signed?

THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM

Do we require some people to be homeless to make our economy work?

Any sane person would reject that notion.

When we allow people to live in our society, we should also allow them to have a home.

For a long time our economy has been spitting people out, and into homelessness.

This is not right, but it is a sad reality seen on city streets.

With the casino level of growth in the Tasmanian economy, the spitting has gotten worse, and more people are ending up homeless.

This problem is in part driven by skyrocketing rents, as the forces of profit drive rents up.

The problem is also fuelled by the lack of affordable rental stock, which is rapidly vanishing into holiday accommodation.

Market forces have now revealed the stark reality of our economy, that it does not offer affordable housing to all citizens.

This stark reality has revealed a political failure, to ensure that there is an affordable home for every citizen who needs a home.

To achieve change and end homelessness, citizens who care need to send a strong message to every politician.

That message can begin by signing this petition.

THE FINNISH SOLUTION TO HOMELESSNESS

Finland reflected on their homelessness tragedy, and solved the problem by providing homes. [1]

The Finns found that it was less costly to provide homes for the homeless, compared to the cost of support services for homeless people.

If Finland can solve homelessness, what is our problem?

Why are we pursuing the more expensive option of allowing homelessness?

Homelessness damages health, and can lead to an early death on the street by violence, or freezing to death in the bushes.

As a civilized society, we can solve the homelessness problem, by mobilising our collective good will and political muscle, to provide homes for the homeless.

If we decide it is a basic human right for all citizens to have a home, then that can be an accepted fact that we work with.

Our society rejected slavery, which was once seen as a necessary evil.

Tasmania rejected the convict system in 1853, which cut the revenue stream from Britain, which had paid the colony a princely sum to send prisoners to this island.

In 1948 our nation helped to draft and signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which in Article 25 states, “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services”. [2]

By allowing homelessness, Australia is in breach of our international commitment to ensure that all citizens have a home.

If enough people decide that we have a moral obligation to provide a home for all citizens, and all children, and all elderly people, then politicians will respond, as happened with the ending of slavery, and the end of the convict system, when the name of Van Diemen’s Land was changed into Tasmania.

NOT JUST A CITY PROBLEM

Some people suggest that homeless people can move to country towns, but this is an illusion.

In Ross the stark reality is, there are no houses available to rent, and a similar struggle exists in Campbell Town.

One local resident very nearly had to move out of Ross, as their home was being transformed into a holiday place.

There is a need for affordable rental housing in Ross, not just in Hobart.

A recent news report from New Norfolk revealed rising rents making life tougher, and affordable rental properties so much harder to find, to the point of impossible. [Story included below]

There needs to be a full audit of available rental properties in country towns, and how fast they are being turned into holiday homes.

Many homeless people could not move to a country town, because they need to be near employment options, government services and charities.

A Centrelink recipient will have their payments cut, if they move to a location with fewer employment options.

A country house may be empty, but it may not be ready to rent, requiring work to be done at considerable expense to prepare it for lease.

Anyone without transport would be trapped in a town like Tunbridge, where there are no shops.

In a recent article I explored a few potential solutions to the housing crisis, with a new form of tourism by foot and cycle through Tasmania, which would also create employment and include an alternative approach to transport. [3]

To create this alternative, the government would need to take the lead, by creating a foot and cycle path through Tasmania, from the ferry in Devonport to Port Arthur, called the Australian Convict Trail, connecting country towns to the cities. [4]

At present the focus is on fast highways for cars and trucks, which are not friendly places for walking or cycling.

The walking and cycle experience would be complemented with mini coaches.

Considering the success of cycling in Tasmania, and with mountain bike trails, there is every reason to consider that this approach will work.

Considering the leap in ambulance call-outs to the new mountain bike trails, a gentler approach would also have other benefits.

We can explore alternatives, along with many ways to make life better, but when it comes to homelessness, the simple solution in our society, is to provide homes.

Once that moral commitment is made, the devil is in the detail of how we provide homes where they are needed.

Providing an affordable home for all citizens who need a home, will fix the housing crisis.

The home provided will be basic, allowing a person to improve their lives, find work, and look to a larger home, if they wish.

CRIMINAL CONSEQUENCES

Forcing people into homelessness can have serious repercussions, and all too predictable outcomes.

A hungry homeless child may break into someone’s kitchen seeking food, where anything could happen if challenged.

Teenagers with nothing to lose may fall into a criminal lifestyle, and a life in and out of prison.

Children of families living rough will see how they have been made homeless by a heartless economic system, and may react badly to that treatment later in life.

Increasing homelessness inevitably increases health costs, law and order costs, and reduces the contribution of the homeless person to society.

The life-path of a talented person, deprived of a secure home, will be diminished, or simply vanished, as they give up.

Take away opportunity and hope, and the likelihood of drug abuse increases.

CALMING THE FEEDING FRENZY

As a capitalist society, we allow people to profit, but when profit generation turns into a feeding frenzy, an increasing number of people get flung off the roulette wheel into homelessness.

By providing affordable homes for people who need a home, the feeding frenzy will be defused.

Anyone sharing the wish to end homelessness, can sign this petition, and consider other actions in calling for a home for all citizens who need a home.

When commenting on homelessness in Twitter, the hash tag #endhomelessness can be used.

If people rise up in number, we could solve the homeless problem by Christmas. [5]

We can fix the housing crisis, by ending homelessness.

REFERENCES ~

[1]  Here’s how Finland solved its homelessness problem
Alex Gray, 13 February 2018, World Economic Forum
https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/02/how-finland-solved-homelessness/

[2]  Universal Declaration of Human Rights
http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/

[3]  Fixing the Housing Crisis
Kim Peart, 15 March 2018, Tasmanian Times
http://tasmaniantimes.com/index.php?/weblog/article/fixing-the-housing-crisis-/

[4]  Moreton Bay to Port Arthur
Kim Peart, 30 April 2016, Tasmanian Times
http://tasmaniantimes.com/index.php?/article/moreton-bay-to-port-arthur/

Campaigning along the Australian Convict Trail
https://australianspaceparty.discussion.community/post/campaigning-along-the-australian-convict-trail-14-feb-2018-9653441?pid=1303264492

[5]  A Christmas Carol
Kim Peart, 21 March 2018, Tasmanian Times
http://tasmaniantimes.com/index.php?/weblog/article/a-christmas-carol/

*ABOUT Kim Peart:  In 2007 Kim was listed among Tasmania’s top 200 movers and shakers for “An urban bushland conservationist who has worked tirelessly over the years to maintain walking tracks and protect wildlife from the encroachment of bush-front housing developments.” Kim is campaigning for an Australian Convict Trail, with the Tasmanian leg running from the ferry in Devonport to Port Arthur, along with foot and cycle paths by Tasmania’s highways and roads. After being at the launch of an Australian Space Agency last September, Kim is seeking ways to create employment, careers and new enterprise in Tasmania with the global space industry. Kim is running in the election for the upper house seat of Prosser.

Follow Kim Peart for Prosser on Twitter ~  https://twitter.com/PeartForProsser

Authorised by: J Bolton, 39A Bridge Street, Ross, 7209, Tasmania

Kim Peart: A letter to Will Hodgman