Forging stronger links to address veterans' homelessness

The Hon Matt Thistlethwaite MP
Assistant Minister for Defence
Assistant Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Assistant Minister for the Republic

New resources for community housing providers tailored for the needs of veterans experiencing homelessness have been launched today.

“Working with Veterans: A Toolkit for Community Housing Organisations” is a joint initiative between the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) and the Community Housing Industry Association (CHIA).

The new resources strengthen referral pathways between providers, DVA, Open Arms and other ex-service organisations, to help set an industry standard for providing housing services to veterans.

Assistant Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Matt Thistlethwaite launched the toolkit at an event that brought together representatives from the homelessness sector, government and veteran community.

“We owe a debt of gratitude to the defence personnel who have donned a uniform and served Australia. But too many of our former service personnel are experiencing homelessness,” Assistant Minister Thistlethwaite said.

“We are working hard to address the issue of homelessness - we need to ensure that there are stronger linkages between providers, services and veterans.

A recent survey found that only 39 per cent of veterans who reported experiencing homelessness accessed assistance from mainstream support services.

The resources include a toolkit which outlines the risk factors contributing to veteran homelessness, service needs and available referral pathways, and how to tailor support for veterans and families.

As the peak industry body representing 170 not-for-profit community housing providers in Australia, CHIA’s knowledge and connection to providers across Australia will ensure that the toolkit is up-to-date, relevant and linked with the industry.

“There are many factors that can contribute to homelessness, such as relationship breakdown, unemployment, and experiences of mental ill-health. We are focused on developing the best practical ways to address these factors before veterans and families find themselves at risk.

“Too many veterans are without a home and too few are turning to us for support. These new resources will help address those trends,” Assistant Minister Thistlethwaite said.

The new resources complement the Albanese Labor Government’s commitment to helping address veteran homelessness through the $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund.

Returns from the Fund will provide a $30 million investment over five years to build housing and fund services for veterans who are homeless, or at-risk of becoming homeless.

For more information, visit www.dva.gov.au/homelessness-support.

Veterans who are struggling with their living situation or are at risk of homelessness are encouraged to contact the Department of Veterans’ Affairs on 1800 VETERAN (1800 838 372) or Open Arms – Veterans and Families Counselling on 1800 011 046 who will work with them to provide the most appropriate care.

Media contacts

Ben Leeson (Assistant Minister Thistlethwaite’s Office): 0404 648 275
DVA Media: media.team@dva.gov.au

Open Arms – Veterans & Families Counselling provides 24/7 free confidential crisis support for current and ex-serving ADF personnel and their families on 1800 011 046 or the Open Arms website. Safe Zone Support provides anonymous counselling on 1800 142 072. Defence All-Hours Support Line provides support for ADF personnel on 1800 628 036 or the Defence Health Portal. Defence Member and Family Helpline provides support for Defence families on 1800 624 608