Australian PM Revives Pledge On Housing

KEVIN Rudd has pledged to revive his 2008 pledge to halve homelessness by 2020, a promise that has been undermined by an increase in the number of people without a home.

The Prime Minister quietly convened a meeting with the Prime Minister’s Council on Homelessness at Kirribilli House last week to accelerate efforts to reach the goal.

The move comes after the Gillard government pledged only a one-year extension of the federal-state funding deal to cut homelessness, leaving many wondering whether Labor was still committed to its ambitious agenda.

A spokesman for Mr Rudd confirmed last night that last week’s meeting was held to put the homelessness pledge back on track, beyond its short-term funding extension.

Toby Hall, chief executive of Mission Australia, one of the largest welfare agencies, said he believed Mr Rudd wanted to get homelessness back on the agenda.
“I really sensed that the Prime Minister wanted to reaffirm his commitment to tackling homelessness,” Mr Hall said.

“One way I would like to see that happen is by engaging the private sector, either through the government encouraging super funds, through social impact bonds or through tax incentives and capital guarantees to encourage investment by institutions.”