Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA) welcomes the opportunity to respond to the Department of Social Services’ National Housing and Homelessness Plan Issues Paper.

WWDA commends the Australian Government on the steps it is taking to prepare and implement a national housing and homelessness plan. We note in this regard that the development and implementation of a national strategy will aid the Australian Government to fulfil its international human rights obligations, consistent with the recommendations of the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.[i]

WWDA calls on the Australian Government to ensure that people with disability meaningfully and effectively participate in the design, construction and administration of housing, and housing and homelessness programs and policies. WWDA also calls on the Australian Government to expressly include homelessness as a priority within Australia’s Disability Strategy, and to include people with disability as a priority cohort within housing and homelessness strategies and frameworks. We set out our recommendations at the end of this submission.

WWDA advocates for a human rights approach to housing in Australia, and an approach to homelessness that incorporates universal, targeted and crisis prevention. Critically, universal prevention requires that the Australian Government improve the situation of people with disability in Australia in all areas of life, including through increasing access to quality disability supports and services.

[i] Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, General Comment 4, The right to adequate housing (Sixth session, 1991), U.N. Doc. E/1992/23, annex III at 114 (1991), reprinted in Compilation of General Comments and General Recommendations Adopted by Human Rights Treaty Bodies, U.N. Doc. HRI/GEN/1/Rev.6 at 18 (2003).