To coincide with Homelessness Week 2021, not-for-profit community health service, cohealth, is urging the Federal Government to invest in more social housing as a mechanism to directly improve the health of Australians.
“As a community health service that supports people facing disadvantage, we see the first-hand impacts of homelessness and poor housing,” said Nicole Bartholomeusz, Chief Executive, cohealth.
“Sleeping rough, couchsurfing or living in overcrowded, poor quality accommodation takes a toll on mental and physical health, and can exacerbate pre-existing health conditions.”
“Our practitioners see people with a range of health issues related to poor housing, or an absence of housing, including respiratory conditions, musculo-skeletal problems and wounds and skin issues, as well as severe mental ill-health,” said Ms Bartholomeusz.
Aligning itself with the Everybody’s Home campaign, cohealth is using Homelessness Week 2021 to also call for urgent Federal action to boost social housing for women and children fleeing violence.
Family violence is the leading reason women and children seek specialist homelessness services (AIHW, 2020), and the ‘Nowhere To Go’ Equity Economics report found more than 9,000 women and children face homelessness each year after leaving a violent partner.
“Having a stable, secure and affordable home is fundamental to health, wellbeing and being able to engage in all other aspects of life, including connection with family, friends and community, staying in school and finding and keeping a job,” said Ms Bartholomeusz.
“Australia is in the grips of an affordable housing crisis. If the Federal Government fails to directly invest in social housing for people on the lowest incomes we will continue to see devastating health and wellbeing impacts over the long term,” said Ms Bartholomeusz.
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cohealth is a Victorian not-for-profit community health organisation that strives to improve health and wellbeing for all. It provides universal access to services as well as targeted programs and assertive models to address the health disparities experienced by disadvantaged groups. cohealth offers a broad range of high quality, integrated health and support services, including medical oral, pharmacy, mental health and drug and alcohol services.