How to promote the free health care offered in Tasmania to homeless people, who still do not receive the help they need?

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What is the issue? 

Homeless is experienced by so many people around the world and across Australia, which I more specifically focused on. It is a rising issues, that is defined by a person who lack a regular residence, and lacks simple needs. You may think of a homeless person as someone who is unable to afford a stable residence, but it is also commonly seen as people not feeling safe to live at home, therefore moving out.

Homelessness

A rising issue

Statistics in Tasmania 

  • 120,000 Tasmanians (22% of the population) are living below the poverty line. 
  • Aboriginal and Torres Straight islanders (indigenous) make up 20% of all homeless people. 
  • Children and young people are more commonly found homeless because they are either with a single parent or trying to flee domestic violence. In 2018/2019 approximately 18% of people staying in shelters where under the age of 25.
  • More than 6,800 women over the age of 55 are homeless, this number continues to increase and is estimated to rise over 30% within the next 5 years.

Statistics in Australia 

  • Every night, over 116,000 Australians experience homelessness.
  • In 2016 It showed that 50 out of 10,000 people are homeless.
  • In 2014, is was estimated that around 2.5 million people over the age of 15 had experienced homeless at one stage during their life.
  • With in the last 10 years, 1 in 7 people reported their cause of homelessness was due to expensive buy/rental market.
  • Within the last 10 years, approximately 13% reported their cause of homelessness was financial problems. 
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Healthcare for the homeless

People experiencing homelessness are among the Australian’s most socially and economically disadvantaged. A more recent study showed that people who find themselves homeless, experience a significantly higher rate of death, disability or chronic illness, in comparison to rest of the Australian population.

Many of  the health and health care issues that arise from being homeless is that they are not aware of the health care options available to them, therefore meaning they are missing out on the necessary health care they need. this results in higher death and illness rates seen in homeless communities. 

In Tasmania, health care is free to everybody, including homeless people. If they needed to call and ambulance it would be free. Tasmania is one of the few state in Australia that offer free ambulance services. Meaning anyone that needs help can call and ambulance which will take them to a hospital free of charge. This is not a well-known fact, which means many homeless people or people who are not able to afford an ambulance are suffering at home, because they are not calling an ambulance when they need it, mostly because they think they will not be able to pay for it. advertising that “all ambulances are free no matter you situation” will definitely have some impact.

It is reported that many homeless people that require health care, deny it as they feel “embarrassed” of their situation. But no matter anyone’s situation, everyone should have the right to free health care, it should matter about what you can pay, everyone should get equal amount of care.

Another option that is available for homeless people is a concession card. This card allows access to cheaper medicine, bulk billed doctor visits and sometimes cheaper electricity bills. You can apply for these cards through governments medicare (oversee the payment for people who qualify for government benefits) office. people that can apply for a concession card include; people who are reliant of specific payments from the government, people who receive a low income, including homeless people, single parents, and people with disabilities who are not able to work and create an inclose. 

It would be great if you could complete this survey about Homelessness in your state. It is only 5 questions. Thanks! 

Short Survey 

Solution to the overall problem 

There is already a visible solution, which is that health care is available to everyone for free and there is a concession card available for people who apply.  But the barrier that is stopping many people from asking for help when they need it, is that they are not aware of their options. 

I believe the first step in helping fix this problem would be promoting the issue and then advertising the many options that are already in place such as free health care, free ambulances and a concession care. i think another way of getting the word around would be in homeless shelters having people who know all of the options for health care for homeless people. 

Advertising that “all ambulances are free no matter you situation” will definitely have some impact, cause this will impact the people who are either not sure whether they can call an ambulance or for those who are to embarrassed to call an ambulance. 

With the concession card, it should be advertised better, possible over the radio, in homeless shelters or just adds. a concession card should be something that you could be able to apply for at homeless shelters. Because this will give more people the option to apply for one. 

overall i think the main solution is advertising the issue, as there is already many options they are just not being used as much as they should be, meaning people are still denying themselves from the health care they need. 

Work cited 

5 Comments

5 comments

  1. Lucy,

    Thank you for making us all aware of this local problem which is also a global issue. This brings to mind the unit we did on global health care and the differences everywhere. I appreciate your empathy for the homeless in your area and for sharing this with all of us!

  2. Hey Lucy!
    I had no clue homelessness was such a large issue in Australia, especially among individuals below the age of 25. I feel like a lot of the time homeless people are associated with being a “burden” themselves which is why I really appreciate your addition of the fact that 70% of the young homeless population chose to leave their homes because of family violence. Further, I think your idea of homeless shelters spreading awareness to the homeless of their healthcare options is extremely practical and intuitive. Great Job! 🙂

  3. Hi Lucy-You’ve done a wonderful job here with presenting an issue that is largely present in your local community and presenting a solution that can possibly be applicable to other global communities as well. I think that healthcare, especially for the large number of young people you mentioned or people who left home because of an unsafe situation deserves the attention you are bringing to it. I heavily agreed with your points about awareness. An issue in a community cannot be fixed or blamed on the people suffering if they are not aware of their own resources. Taking advantage of the resources already available is a great start that will, in itself, be a kickstarter for great changes. Again, just wanted to say thanks for presenting an issue that I before was not aware of! Great work!

  4. Hey Lucy,
    this is a big social issue I have never heard of and I wanted to thank you for educating me and many others on this important issue. I learned so much through your presentation! Your solution was super clear and exactly what I was picturing as a solution for this issue. My question is what is a concession card? I have never heard of it.
    Tori:)

  5. Hi Lucy, I thought your project was really interesting, and I felt that your solution makes a lot of sense. Overall a really interesting project.

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