Year 9 Studies: Homelessness

Year 9 students have continued working on the St Vincent’s Winter Appeal. As part of their learning we have been exploring homelessness. One of their tasks was to write a letter to the PM and/or local MP explaining their views on the issue. The letter was to indicate their learning and understanding of the issue of homelessness….


Dear Andrew Munroe and Malcolm Turnbull,

The homelessness situation in Whitehorse, and all of Australia is dire. Thousands of Australians are living on the streets. The homeless go unnoticed in Australia, the local and Federal government are for the most part ignoring the large homeless population. Currently one in every 200 Australians are homeless. How much does this statistic have to grow before it is taken seriously by the government? This is a call to action for the government. Australia can end homelessness, but our leaders must make change to get Australians back on their feet.

Some may say that homelessness is a result of someone’s poor decisions and bad morals. A common attitude amongst Australians is that nothing can be done to resolve homelessness, because people become homeless of their own accord. The Whitehorse and national government must refuse to think like this. It may be an easy excuse to avoid action against homelessness but it is far from the reality. In Victoria, only three percent of the homeless population are in their situation because of substance abuse. This fact alone is staggering to most, and completely disregards the common misconception that, ‘the homeless are all addicts’. In fact, the most common cause of homelessness in Australia, is domestic abuse. Roughly 25% of all homelessness is caused by violence within families. People are left with no choice but to leave their homes to avoid brutality from other family members. This surely shows you that the homeless deserve our support and are not to blame for their situations.

I do understand that local and national governments have made attempts to reduce homelessness, but there has been little to no effect on the homeless population. Action to end homelessness is mostly targeted at all homeless people. This isn’t effective because each homeless person is an individual. While it is possible to categorise each homeless person into groups, they are much more than numbers on a graph and cannot be treated as such. To bring real social justice amongst the homeless each of the homeless need to have a sort of counsellor. They need someone they trust who can give them personal support and options to get out of poverty. While only a small population of the homeless will realistically be able to have personal support, it would be an effective method to help the homeless. It would take a long time to counsel every homeless person in Australia but I believe the permanent results would be worth it.

As I’m sure you now see, real action is needed to end homelessness in Whitehorse and all of Australia. As leaders of our country it is ultimately your responsibility to lead us in an effort to change the lives of the homeless. We must see past the misconceptions of homelessness and make real change to people’s lives through effective methods of help.

The time for action is now.


Joseph Cefai, 9A, Salesian College


If you haven’t done so already, please help us assist with the St Vinnies Winter appeal by donating food, toiletries and warm winter clothes.