CHP eNews 2 November Federal Government’s new bill fails to provide urgently needed resources


CHP eNews 2017
2  November 2017

Dear *|FNAME|*,

Federal Government’s new bill fails to provide urgently needed resources
On 25 October, the Federal Government introduced a Bill to terminate the National Affordable Housing Agreement (NAHA), and define the terms of a new National Housing and Homelessness Agreement (NHHA). The Bill was introduced without warning or consultation, two days before it was to be discussed with state and territory Treasurers. 

In a joint media release, Homelessness Australia and National Shelter expressed concern that the new bill fails to guarantee urgently needed additional federal resources for housing and homelessness, and presents a risk of funding cuts. 


Jenny Smith, Chair of Homelessness Australia has said. ‘’Despite holding most of the policy levers driving homelessness and the housing crisis – social security, rent assistance, taxation, and federal funding of social housing – the federal government is seeking new powers to cut funding if the states and territories don’t meet federal demands to reduce homelessness,”  Jenny has spoken to these concerns on ABC RN Drive.

Last Friday our federal, state and territories’ Treasurers met as the Council on Federal Financial Relations. Following that meeting, Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison put out a release that some media misread as meaning that the States and Territories had reached agreement on the multilateral component of the NHHA.

CHP’s understanding is that the only agreement achieved, is for the States and Territories to publish housing and homelessness plans, and to continue to negotiate.

We will continue to monitor the development of the new agreement and keep you informed of progress. For full background, and a summary of our main concerns, please see the sector bulletin here.  

Read the full release here: Federal Government needs to address lack of social housing, not put national funding at risk for housing and homelessness services

LGBTQ Victorians are twice as likely to face homelessness: GALFA Report
Discrimination, violence, family rejection and heightened stress are why LGBTQ Victorians are at least twice as likely to find themselves without a home, a report has found. 

The study’s findings and recommendations have significant implications for housing and homelessness service’s approaches to LBGTIQ clients. In response to the alarming evidence provided by the study, The Council to Homeless Persons is calling for specialist accommodation options for young LGBTIQ people.  

The recently released final report of the  LGBTQ Homelessness Research Project, published by the Gay and Lesbian Foundation of Australia, explored why LGBTQ Australians are significantly overrepresented in homelessness data, but also how they could be better supported.

The study’s key findings include:

  • LBG people are at least twice as likely as heterosexuals to experience homelessness,

  • People who identify as bisexual are much more likely to have at least five repeated experiences of homelessness

  • LGBTQ people are more likely to experience homelessness at a younger age and this is driven by family rejection

  • Misgendering, harassment, violence, & discrimination against #LGBTQ people is common in services and rooming houses, as is discrimination in private rental

  • Fears of, or, actual negative experiences suffered in homelessness services are creating barriers to help-seeking

The report made a wide range of recommendations for relating to prevention, policy, training and service provision and research. 

Read about the full report and recommendations in our blog. 

Ombudsman report highlights unfair treatment of public housing tenants
On 30 October, the Victorian Ombudsman released her report revealing that the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) was unfairly pursuing maintenance claims against former public housing tenants, and withholding future housing from former tenants until a payment plan is agreed to. The unfair practices documented in the report included:

  • A default practice of raising maintenance claims against former tenants for almost the entire cost of repairing a vacated property, failing to take into account:
    • special circumstances (such as family violence, mental and physical illness or evidence of third party damage)
    • fair wear and tear and depreciation which can add up to thousands of dollars.
  • Sending letters advising former tenants of claims against them to addresses the department knows they have left.
  • Failing to negotiate with tenants or their advocates.
  • In effect outsourcing its responsibilities to determine a debt to VCAT, wasting public resources and breaching its responsibility as a Model Litigant.

DHHS has accepted all the Ombudsman’s 18 recommendations, including removing the requirement for applicants to make a debt repayment plan prior to an offer of public housing where the claim is in dispute.

Herald Sun Editorial misses the mark
On the 23 October, the Herald Sun published an editorial, ‘Mayor faces homeless test’

The editorial contained a repeat of calls for tougher regulations, in order to address the rise in rough sleeping being seen in Melbourne’s warmer weather, and, also contains misguided assumptions about the reasons for these increased numbers. Our CEO, Jenny Smith’s response to the editorial, published as a letter to the editor on 26 October is below.

FULL TEXT: THE editorial “Mayor faces homeless test” (HS, Oct 24) misses the main issue driving increased homelessness in CBD streets. First and foremost, this is about people on low incomes who can’t find places to live that they can afford.

It is also about homelessness services being so overwhelmed with need from those unable to get housing, that not everyone who comes seeking help can get into crisis accommodation.

This is the fact that is consistently misunderstood — but is critical. Homelessness services do great work with people who are homeless to help them into new housing, but these support efforts can’t end people’s homelessness when housing simply isn’t available.

Outreach workers may support people sleeping rough for months before they can get them a place in which to live. In that time the best available option may be a cheap hotel or rooming house for a few days or weeks.

Crisis accommodation — where people can stay several weeks — is full and blocked up by the lack of long-term housing exit points. Only one in every seven referrals is accepted. Many of those turned away are likely to end up back on the street. Delivering thousands more places where people can live is the solution we need.

Renewed calls for rough sleeping bans that have been tried and shown to fail in other places will get us nowhere, except further dividing our community.
 – Jenny Smith, CEO, Council to Homeless Persons

We encourage anyone who encounters media reporting on homelessness that perpetuates stereotypes or negative language to direct the outlet or reporter to our media guidelines, which you can find below. 

Getting the language right

The language media use when reporting on homelessness has a great influence on the perceptions of the general public and decision makers.  While we’ve largely moved on from derogatory terms like ‘hobo’ and ‘dero’, language that perpetuates stereotypes and victim-blaming persists. Because of this, CHP has developed a set of guidelines to help media discuss homelessness in a way that is both constructive and respectful.  These guidelines are outlined in our recently updated blog: Getting the language right when we talk about homelessness – we encourage you to share these with your networks, media and anyone interested in writing or talking about homelessness. 

2018 PESP recruitment – applications now open

A chance for consumers to improve the homelessness system

Have you experienced homelessness and want to help improve the homelessness service system? Do you know someone who fits that description?

Applications are now open to become a Peer Education and Support Program team member. Members commit to being involved for two years, during which time they take part in focus groups, media activities, public speaking, and consulting with services and government.

Our current PESP team has clocked innumerable hours helping the community, media and decision-makers better understand homelessness.

Team members receive training and ongoing support and, are reimbursed for their time. 

Please contact PESP Team Leader Cassandra Bawden for more information.To display a PESP application flyer for your clients, download one here
Applications close: January 17, 2018

Hosting a Christmas meal service? Let us know

Every Christmas, CHP compiles a list of organisations providing meal services on or around Christmas Day that are available to people experiencing homelessness or feeling isolated.  The list goes up on our website and is promoted via our social media channels. If your organisation is hosting a meal service, please contact and we will include you on the list.  

In the news – in case you missed it!
ABC RN New Homelessness agreement causes controversy 
Homelessness Australia Media Release Federal Government needs to address lack of social housing, Research shows Aussie families suffering under rising living costs not put national funding at risk for 
AFR States not consulted on housing deal, Treasuring confirms
HuffPost The fraught financial decisions that crazy house prices are forcing parents to make


CHP Updates

Council to Homeless Persons 2017 AGM – 20 November
Don’t miss CHP’s Annual General Meeting on Monday 20 November at the Richmond Town Hall from 2pm.  
Senator the Hon Doug Cameron, Shadow Minister for Housing and Homelessness is our Guest Speaker. Senator Cameron will talk to the current and likely future of national homelessness and housing policy. 
The AGM will also feature the current PESP team’s graduation. 
Book here to join us at Richmond Town Hall
Date: Monday 20 November, 2.00 – 4.30pm including celebratory drinks

Members event – meet the media
VCOSS and CHP members are invited to ‘Meet the media – and ask them anything’.
Nervous pitching a story? Unsure how to convince a journo your issue is worthwhile? Terrified by TV? VCOSS has teamed up with the Council to Homeless Persons and Good Talent Media to demystify the process for you.

We’ve established an esteemed panel of journalists including Dean FeltonSeven News, Kate McMahon, Herald Sun, Josh Gordon, former The Age Victorian Political Editor. 
Come along on Tuesday 14 November to hear their perspectives and ask all your burning questions. Places are strictly limited.

Book here using the password “notforprofit” and your VCOSS or CHP member organisation affiliated email address.

Become a CHP Member
Becoming a CHP member is the most effective way to support Council to Homeless Persons’ work to end homelessness. 
Members’ Portal Coming Soon
A new Portal for CHP members will open soon. The portal will allow members to easily access a host of online resources – including full copies of Parity magazine. Stay tuned for more updates. 

National Housing Conference 2017

AHURI will convene the National Housing Conference 2017: Building for better lives, in Sydney from 29 Nov – 1 Dec 2017 at the International Convention Centre. As the largest cross-sectoral housing meeting in Australasia, it’s a must-attend event for housing industry specialists.
It is widely recognised by policymakers, housing experts and the public that Australians need greater access to safe, secure and affordable housing. The #NHCSydney program outlines a range of sessions focussed on these issues, which will provide a wealth of knowledge for specialist homelessness services providers, policymakers, and allied practitioners working to improve homelessness and housing outcomes.
Register here

5th National Elder Abuse Conference – ‘Together Making Change’  draft Program now available! 
Proudly being hosted by Seniors Rights Service, 19-20 February 2018, Sofitel Wentworth Sydney. In bringing together over 500 people, the 2018 Conference comes at a pivotal moment in Australia’s response to elder abuse. We look forward to the exchange of ideas, solutions and experiences at the 2018 Conference where delegates will work together to make a change. 

Register now and save with our early bird rates (closes 19 November 2017).  

Boroondara White Ribbon Day forum

This year’s Boroondara White Ribbon Day forum will include a keynote presentation by Beth Mathison. Beth is a company director who in 2015 was awarded Telstra Tasmanian Business Woman of the Year. Beth has a lived experience of family violence and speaks out about the impacts of financial abuse. In sharing her triumphs and failures in the face of extremely difficult personal circumstances and financial set-backs, she challenges contemporary social stereotypes about family violence.
The forum will also feature an interactive panel discussion with representatives from the EDVOS, Eastern Community Legal Centre and Victoria Police.
Date: 11am to 1pm, Wednesday 22 November 2017
Where: Parkview Room, Camberwell Civic Centre, 8 Inglesby Road, Camberwell

The Big Hop (Hour of Power) Youth Forum 2017

The Hour of Power is a Youth Forum run by a group of dedicated young consultants called THE PLATFORM CREW supported by CREATE. Youth advocates share their stories, messages and ideas directly to key decision makers, workers, carers and other young people. Come and hear from young people and participate in workshops sharing ideas and ways we can all create change!! 
To Attend:  Please RSVP by calling or email Luke to register! 0399918002  or email:
When:  12-4pm, Friday, 1st Dec 2017
Where: The Library at the Dock, 107 Victoria Harbour Promenade Docklands VIC 3008 

Parity – Call for contributions
The March 2018 “The Future of Women’s Refuges” edition of Parity is now open for contributions. The central role and function of women’s refuges in meeting the crisis accommodation and support needs of women and children escaping domestic and family violence is at the heart of this edition of Parity; the fundamental question here being: What is the future for women’s refuges?
Contributions close 9 March 2018. Download the flyer here

View this edition’s full list of articles and contributors here. Subscribe to Parity here.

Workshop: Food justice in the City 
This interactive workshop has been designed for individuals and organisations interested in ensuring that everyone living in Australia has access to good, healthy food. The workshop will also feature Council to Homeless Persons’ PESP team leader Cassandra Bawden as a panellist. 
The event is for practitioners, business-owners, researchers, public servants, entrepreneurs and/or people part of the food or community workforce – everyone is welcome!
Date: 14 November
Bookings: here

Refuge at Arts House

You are invited to join us and take Refuge as we transform Arts House in the North Melbourne Town Hall – a City of Melbourne designated Emergency Relief Centre – into a place of safety in a time of a possible heatwave. 
The Bureau of Meteorology predicts that by 2070 the number of days over 35 degrees in Melbourne will more than double from an average of eight a year, to 17.  Heatwaves kill more people than cyclones, floods or bushfires. 

During Refuge, artists, emergency services and you – our community – will come together to start conversations, dream up ideas and forge possible futures. Refuge investigates arts and culture’s role in developing preparedness and building community resilience for climate-related disaster. 
When, Midday – 10pm, Saturday 11 November
Where: Arts House, 521 Queensberry St, North Melbourne
Welcome to Country: 12.00pm
Everyone is welcome. This is a free event.  
More information

16 days of activism against gender-based violence
Family violence is a contributing cause to 42% of homelessness experienced by women.  Nearly two-thirds of homelessness is experienced by women.  Homelessness is a gendered issue and attitudes to towards women are a major driver. CHP is supporting the 16 days of activism running from 25 November to 10 December.  You can learn about last year’s 16 days of activism here and we’ll keep you up to date with new resources for 2017 as they become available.

Input needed to co-design education programs for women experiencing disadvantage

commUnity+ is seeking input from the community services sector in the development of education programs tailored to women who are experiencing disadvantage and facing barriers to education.
Women who are at risk, and people who work with women experiencing vulnerability, (including homelessness, mental health issues and financial instability) are being asked to fill out a five-minute survey. Feedback before 10 November will inform the next phase of planning for these programs.
Deadline: before 10 November. 
More information


Safeguarding Yourself – Recognising and Responding to Vicarious Trauma
This one-day interactive professional development training explores the nature of vicarious trauma (VT), contrasts it with burnout and compassion fatigue, and supports you to stay healthy and safe in your work with people impacted by diverse traumas.

Material presented in the training will be comprehensive and will draw on the research based on the Blue Knot Foundation’s Practice Guidelines for Treatment of Complex Trauma and Trauma Informed Care and Service Delivery and other relevant research.
Fri, 17 November 2017, Melbourne – from $279
Register here

Face-to-Face Ice Training
360Edge is delivering FREE Ice Training to frontline workers across Victoria in the housing and homelessness sectors, funded by the Victorian Government as part of the Ice Action Plan. These practical interactive workshops run for a half day and build the knowledge and skills of frontline workers to respond safely and effectively to people affected by ice. 

To secure your place for a session in your area or get further information about the training go here. New workshop sessions are being added regularly!
Got questions? Contact the Ice Training team on 1300 988 184 or email

Upcoming sessions include:
Frankston 14 Nov 9:30am
Bendigo 21 Nov 1:30pm
Bairnsdale 28 Nov 1:30pm
Box Hill 11 Dec 1:30pm

Unsubscribe  I  Update your profile  I  Forward this to a colleague
© 2017 Council to Homeless Persons

2 Stanley Street, 
Collingwood, Victoria 3066
P: (03) 8415 6200   E: T: @CHPVic