Lord Mayor, Sandy Verschoor is right – ending homelessness is within reach – all it takes is real political will. The recent response of Premier Marshall and the SA Government has been spot on. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, both tiers of government have responded proactively in ensuring that the coronavirus does not take hold among our most extremely vulnerable community group – people rendered homeless who gather in the CBD where support services are located. Utilising our oversupply of hotel rooms to provide short-term relief for homeless people is a very practical response – both humane and economic. What we now need is to seriously advance the already excellent progress that has been made through the Adelaide Zero Project – better coordination of over 30 organisations.
At a time when the Commonwealth Government has taken the lead to temporarily improve the living social wage of vulnerable workers, unemployed people and their families, it behoves our relatively wealthy society to treat homelessness not as a scourge to be hidden away, but as a public health crisis that must be more effectively addressed. That we tolerate the rate of deaths among homeless people needs to change.
I commend the City of Adelaide and the SA Government for their shared commitment to addressing this crisis in a systematic manner.