Thousands of Victorian’s do not have safe and secure housing. The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics states that 24,825 people were experiencing homelessness in Victoria on census night in 2016. In this day and age, we believe that no Victorian should be sleeping rough or be forced to live in unsuitable and unstable housing.
We believe every Victorian has the right to feel safe, warm and secure at night.
To achieve this, we believe all Victorians should have access to support services such as financial assistance, job training, mental health support and more. For those experiencing homelessness, it is essential that these services are able maintain long term contact with these persons – this enables long term support to prevent individuals, couples and families from becoming homeless again.
“It is a human right to have access to safe and stable housing.”
The Homelessness Inquiry
I began the Inquiry into Homelessness in 2019. This inquiry reinforced to me that homelessness is a complex and multifaceted issue that effects a wide array of individuals from a range of backgrounds.
This Inquiry made 51 recommendations to the government. Throughout this inquiry we saw the government take notice and implement a range of measures to support our homeless community during COVID-19. There is still more that needs to be done.
I will be advocating for the government to adopt ALL 51 recommendations as outlined in the report. There is clear emphasis on providing housing first and then focusing on the wrap-around services. Other support means very little without safe and affordable housing.
The report recommended that the government advocate the Commonwealth Government to permanently increase the rate of Jobseeker payments. While a permanent increase did occur, the increase was insufficient in addressing the financial suffering that is being experienced by many in our communities. The increase amounted to a mere $3.60 a day, not even enough for a cup of coffee.
This makes it all the more important that we have other systems, protections and resources in place to stop more people from being forced to sleep rough.
“This report outlines many areas that desperately need funding now. Homelessness impacts not just the individual, but also their families and our communities. We cannot continue to rely on those who generously let their friend sleep on their couch.”
The Big Housing Build
The Big Housing Build is an initiative that aligns strongly with the report’s recommendations to provide more long-term housing for the homeless and those at risk of homelessness.
However, while this project may increase Victoria’s social housing stock by 10%, but this will not ensure Victoria meets the national average of social housing as a percentage of total dwellings, which is 4.5%.
I believe we need more housing today. I will be advocating for the government to build more social housing and affordable housing and introduce policies that stop Victorian houses from sitting empty while those most vulnerable are on the streets.