Submission to National Housing and Homelessness Plan consultation

National Housing and Homelessness Plan

Housing is a critical foundation for mental health. Mental Health Australia welcomes the Australian Government’s development of a National Housing and Homelessness Plan (the Plan), to “help more Australians access safe and affordable housing”.

Australia is in a housing crisis – it’s impacting our mental health and people living with mental health conditions disproportionately experience housing instability. Mental health and housing are inherently interlinked. While experience of mental health issues can mean someone is more likely to experience housing insecurity, experience of housing insecurity can make someone more likely to experience, or perpetuate, mental health issues. 

Mental Health Australia acknowledges the Australian Government’s intention for the Plan to provide a shared vision ─ with short, medium and longer term reforms, and strategies for how all levels of government, the private sector and community sector can work together to better support people experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity. This must include action across government portfolios to tackle the fundamental drivers of homelessness, including income support deficiencies, family and domestic violence, and lack of social and affordable housing. The Plan must be delivered with funding commitments and with clear roles and responsibilities. Governments must establish strong accountability mechanisms, including people with lived experience (including carers and family members) being involved in governance arrangements for delivery of the Plan, with clear and public tracking of progress and outcomes.

Mental Health Australia is pleased to contribute the following specific responses to questions raised in the Issues Paper. Mental Health Australia’s response is based on substantive research, previous consultations with members, and a specific consultation on the Plan with representatives from 24 service provider and lived experience organisations. This response focuses on supports for people experiencing significant mental health challenges – as the area Mental Health Australia can best contribute and our members have extensive expertise, while also emphasising the importance of addressing all housing insecurity to support mental health.

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