Financial Safety

A home should provide various types of safety

Financial Safety

Having no fixed address makes it extremely difficult to apply for a job, which results in no or limited income.

Employment becomes unlikely as homeless people may also face discrimination in the employment process on the basis of their inability to provide a fixed address or satisfy identity requirements, or because they have a criminal record from offences associated with homelessness.

Centrelink benefits can be difficult to claim for someone experiencing homelessness.

Firstly, in order to establish entitlement to benefits, a person must satisfy strict proof of identity requirements, which disproportionately burdens homeless people who often do not have, and cannot afford to obtain, a birth certificate or other documents that prove their identity.

Secondly, once entitlement is established, benefits are contingent upon meeting strict obligations, such as attending job interviews and responding to Centrelink correspondence. When these conditions are breached, benefits can be reduced or revoked altogether. Homeless people often have difficulty in complying with conditions due to poor literacy, problems receiving mail, and needing to give priority to more immediate pressures in their life, such as finding a place to sleep.

“Almost three months after first speaking to The West, 31-year-old Tristan said he was still trying to secure housing. A lack of identification was continuing to hinder his ability to put together the necessary paperwork, he said. “I’m still on struggle street out here."