NSW Budget 2024 once again leaves people seeking asylum behind

June 18, 2024

The New South Wales government has unveiled its 2024-25 Budget, with a significant focus on the state’s housing crisis and what’s being billed as the state’s largest investment in social housing.

As part of the government’s measures to addressing the housing crisis, $527.6 million has been allocated for emergency housing and homelessness support services.

Yet the Asylum Seekers Centre (ASC) is concerned that this support won’t be going towards people seeking asylum, some of the most vulnerable people in our community.

The housing shortage is disproportionately impacting people seeking asylum. During the refugee determination process, people are not eligible for public housing and do not have access to most transitional housing.

The ASC has witnessed a steep increase in the number of people seeking asylum living in temporary, overcrowded accommodation, as well as many cases of people sleeping rough. Our data shows that the number of people seeking asylum who are homeless more than doubled between H1 and H2 2023, while the number of those at risk also increased.

The experience of homelessness is detrimental to the welfare and mental health of people seeking asylum, which in turn can impact their capacity to lodge and progress their applications for protection.

“We acknowledge and welcome the government’s investment in emergency housing and homelessness support at this time of great crisis,” said ASC’s CEO Frances Rush OAM.

“Yet given the lack of direct support for crisis accommodation services supporting people seeking asylum, we hold serious concern over whether this investment extends to some of the most vulnerable people in our community.

“It is a sad irony that this State Budget released during Refugee Week once again stands to leave people seeking asylum behind.

“We must see urgent additional funding to directly support people seeking asylum with increased access to emergency housing and homelessness support because the lens shouldn’t be visa status, but rather the degree of need.”

The ASC is calling on the Minns Government to ensure this additional funding includes direct homelessness support for people seeking asylum.

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