There is an ever increasing need for more affordable housing stock in the ACT region. Organisations that specialise in providing such housing are doing what they can to improve this situation, but are limited by funding constraints. Public housing provided by the ACT Government is also limited. Interim / emergency accommodation for the families of people hospitalised or receiving on-going treatment is also scarce. The numbers of people sleeping rough or being homeless is affected by all of the above and it is across this broad base that Rooftop Foundation aims to have a lasting positive influence.
The issue of providing more affordable housing and to house the homeless became a national priority under the Rudd Government, and this gave rise to the establishment of Rooftop Foundation Incorporated in January 2009.
According to St. Vincent De Paul, 1 in every 330 people are experiencing homelessness on any given night in Canberra. On the night of the ABS 2006 census there were 105,000 people experiencing homelessness nationally, and 1,364 people were homeless in the ACT. These figures covered all three types of homelessness: (a) sleeping rough; (b) couch surfing at a friend’s place; or (c) living in short term accommodation (Boarding House, Caravan Park, Motel, etc). The numbers of homeless in the ACT have increased since this census, as in November to December 2010 alone 826 new people became homeless.
Rooftop Foundation Inc. is working with community groups such as Richmond Fellowship, Neighbourhood Watch and Canberra businesses who share the same vision, to assist in reducing homelessness numbers in the ACT and surrounding regions. In association with these organisations, the Rooftop Foundation aims to raise funds to build more affordable homes to allow low to moderate income earners the opportunity to be housed, and to purchase their own home. We also aim to form long term corporate and community partnerships to raise funds for specialist projects to lower the accommodation stress felt in may parts of our community.
One such Project is our IGA East Row Rooftop House Project to be launched at our Gala Dinner on Friday the 31st of October 2014 at The Southern Cross Club in Woden. Our objective is to collaborate with corporate, community and government bodies to develop lasting relationships whilst generating significant sponsorship revenue and raising significant funds to start the construction of a 12 Unit shared amenities building with community services. We are liaising with ACT Government as well as the NSW Government to secure sufficient suitable land to enable this project to positively impact on the short term crisis accommodation sector.
Rooftop aim to build an IGA East Row Rooftop House in the ACT / Queanbeyan region that will provide short term interim accommodation and support for families of individuals from regional areas who are experiencing serious illnesses requiring hospital or specialist treatment where accommodation in the main regional town or major cities are not available or are too expensive. The IGA East Row Rooftop House Program will aim to assist those that are experiencing financial difficulties and require housing and community support throughout the treatment process. The IGA East Row Rooftop House Program will also work closely with a number of community organizations to provide the families and individuals with support, including programs that allow families access to additional support once hospital or specialist treatment is completed.
The accommodation component is an absolutely critical part of the support equation. Close proximity to treatment centres and the ability to live as normal a life as possible without added accommodation costs and travel pressures is an enormous relief for the families already experiencing high levels of stress and financial hardship. The Program not only addresses this, but provides the first step in establishing the IGA East Row Rooftop House program in other States and Territories.
The Board of Rooftop have had a number of discussions with various community services providers to confirm the need for the IGA East Row Rooftop House. There has been overwhelming support for such a much needed program and there is no doubt that we will secure enormous support from many parts of the community. With the success of the first IGA East Row Rooftop House in the Canberra / Queanbeyan region, the Board intends to establish an IGA East Row Rooftop House in other towns and cities nearest to the local hospitals and treatment centres.