5 Advocates For Housing Justice In Australia

In Australia, as in many other places, the allocation of housing through the private market creates massive gaps through which many fall into homelessness and immiseration. Fortunately, there have arisen many different kinds of groups dedicated to supporting people in their pursuit of a stable and comfortable place to reside. In no particular order, this list highlights organizations fighting for the right to housing Down Under.

The #1 entry is Habitat for Humanity Australia, a group that builds individuals and families homes both in Australia and overseas. Those in need put in labor and a deposit, and the organization assists with the construction expertise and financing. As the no-profit loan is repaid, the funds go towards financing even more homes for people.

The organization is a part of the larger international nonprofit, Habitat for Humanity, that originated in Georgia, United States, in 1976. The housing organization has since grown and now operates in more than 70 countries. In addition to housing, in some communities, it also addresses access to safe water and provides wellbeing education, teaching topics like financial literacy and livelihood assistance.

Coming in at #2 is Shelter NSW. This independent, non-profit, member-driven organization advocates for better housing outcomes for residents of New South Wales. It is primarily concerned with housing insecurity, increasingly experienced by people on low and very low incomes.

Shelter NSW aims to pursue its vision of an economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable housing system through critical engagement with policy and collaborative leadership initiatives with government, community, and the private sector.

For #3, we have the Council to Homeless Persons, located in Victoria. This organization works to end homelessness through strategic policy, advocacy, capacity building, and consumer participation. It also contributes to a body of research that can be applied to policy to support unhoused individuals.

In 2019, CHP hosted a conference at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Center where attendees from across the homelessness sector came together to learn, discover, and share insights into shaping a future where all can be safely housed. Melbourne City Mission, a partner of the conference, helped strategize the best way to provide services to some of Victoria’s most vulnerable young people.

Up next, at #4, we have Beddown, a charity that creates pop-up accommodation hubs for those who are most vulnerable, with the hope that no one has to sleep on the street, under bridges, or on benches. The spaces it uses are ones commonly used and busy during the day but at night are left vacant or empty.

Beddown also works with other charitable organizations that can provide complementary services such as laundry, showers, food and beverages, healthcare, and clothing. It has partnered with Australia’s largest car park operator, Secure Parking, to offer pop-up accommodation at its locations.

Rounding out our list at #5 is Housing for the Aged Action Group, an organization that specializes in the housing needs of older people. HAAG is actively involved in the review of government legislation, and its political lobbying works to affect policy change around shelter for the elderly.

The organization runs many projects to focus on different areas of housing insecurity. One is a collaboration between the Ethnic Communities’ Council of Victoria and aims to increase awareness of housing issues for older migrant and refugee communities.