CHP eNews 30 November: Renting Is A Game Of Musical Chairs, And The Poor Lose Out Every Time


CHP eNews 2017 
30 November 2017

Dear *|FNAME|*,


Low-income renters priced entirely out of Melbourne and regional centres
Households on $50K must move 115km out of Melbourne to avoid rent stress

The bi-annual National Shelter, Community Sector Banking and SGS Economics and Planning Rental Affordability Index (RAI), released yesterday, has found that low income households, including pensioners and single parents, can no longer afford to live anywhere in Melbourne, Geelong, Ballarat or Bendigo. Jenny Smith was interviewed on 774 Mornings to discuss the report on Wednesday morning (tune in at 26 mins).

The startling findings coincides with the release of our submission to the 2018-19 State Budget, which proposes how the Victorian Government can increase the supply of affordable homes for low income earners.

With competition for rentals fiercer than ever, it’s a game of musical chairs, and when the music stops, it’s vulnerable Victorian households who are left with nowhere to live, or nothing to live on.
The RAI shows that even households who aren’t on the lowest income rungs are struggling with rent stress. Victorian households on $50,000 p.a. must live 115kms away from Melbourne if they want to find an affordable two-bedroom rental – Seymour, Moe and East Ballarat are the closest options if they don’t want to be living in rent stress.

Read our blog post on the Rental Affordability Index and our calls to level the playing field.

Renting is a game of musical chairs: 14,500 new social housing properties would make the rules fairer
The latest Rental Affordability Index (RAI) has told us more emphatically what we already know; that if you are very poor, the private rental market has nothing for you. So what’s the answer? We need Government to boost supply of low-cost housing that is dedicated low-income earners.

Yesterday we released our 2018-19 State Budget submission which calls on the State Government to build and acquire 14,500 new social housing dwellings in Melbourne and key regional centres over the next five years – three times the current plan. 

This is a problem that needs both state and federal governments to pull together to fully resolve – and the Federal Government is currently asleep at the housing affordability wheel.

The good news is that the Victorian Government can afford further investment, with tax revenue from stamp duty having nearly doubled over the past five years to $6.2 billion a year. We think that the windfall gains to the budget from skyrocketing house prices should be used to mitigate the pain that the housing crisis has caused.

Victoria’s recent economic success has a dark flipside, manifesting in fierce and growing competition for rental properties, with those able to benefit from economic growth crowding out those left behind – with growing homelessness as a consequence. It’s time to to make the musical chairs rent game a lot fairer for low-income earners.

Read the full Rental Affordability Index

Read CHP’s State Budget Submission

Meanwhile, in Canada they’re committing $40 billion to housing
While Australia’s Commonwealth Government appears to be asleep at the housing affordability wheel, the Canadian Government yesterday announced it would commit $40 billion over 10 years to a National Housing Strategy (NHS), which will leverage partnerships with provinces and territories to achieve results. Canada’s housing affordability has declined dramatically due to many of the same issues faced in Australia, including a housing taxation system that rewards home owners with capital gains concessions and other tax breaks.

The NHS includes:

  • A doubling of funding for homelessness services
  • A portable housing benefit for 300,000 people
  • 100,000 new units of affordable housing (including First Peoples housing)
  • 300,000 refurbishments
  • A legislated ‘right to housing’ which will ensure that people at risk of, or who experience homelessness, are assisted to get access to safe and affordable housing

Read more about Canada’s National Housing Strategy here, and resist the temptation to apply for Canadian citizenship. 

Couchsurfers fall through cracks, finds WEstJustice

A new report by WEstJustice, a community legal service, has found that young couch surfers are falling through the gaps – not yet considered adults, but not given the same level of protection as children, these young people are forced to couch surf to avoid violence at home and family conflict.

Analysis of 62 case studies from the WEstJustice Couchsurfing clinic revealed a combination of structural, legal and policy issues led to, or exacerbated, the vulnerability of young couch surfers. It also points to a lack of community service options for couch surfers and couch providers.

The report makes for sobering reading, and reminds us that couch surfing is a too-often forgotten form of homelessness which can have lasting and devastating impacts, particularly on young people. 

Pathways Innovation Fund – Applications open

Got an innovative solution to homelessness? Does your organisation have a new and creative idea that will help people experiencing homelessness in the City of Melbourne? The Pathways Innovation Fund is now open with $1.2 million in funding available to support projects which will make an enduring difference to homelessness in the city.

Delivered in partnership with the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation, the Fund is a key initiative of the City of Melbourne’s Pathways Innovation Package, which comprises a suite of programs to address homelessness, including assertive outreach, safe night time spaces, and support for businesses. 

For further information, including eligibility and how to apply, please visit the Pathways Innovation Fund page on the City of Melbourne website or contact Kerry Hylton, Senior Project Coordinator on 9658 9658. Applications close on Monday 8 January 2018.


In the news – in case you missed it!

ABC 774 Mornings Jenny Smith interview re. Rental Affordability Index (26 minutes)
Domain Sharehouse residents are resorting to renting living rooms by the minute: experts
Your Mortgage
How Australia can solve its housing shortage for vulnerable people
Domain Melbourne rental affordability worsens again: pensioners, students among hardest hit 
SBS No safety net for thousands of Kiwis living in Australia 
SBS How much do you know about the science of poverty? 
Domain Social impact investment could address housing shortage for Australia’s most vulnerable, 
Your Mortgage Is New Zealand better than Oz at tackling housing affordability?
Domain News Australia’s top Airbnb host made $5.3 million in the last year
The Conversation More and more older Australians will be homeless unless we act now
Sydney Morning Herald Australia faces housing hangover twice the size of the GFC subprime era 
SBS What would it take to abolish poverty in Australia?
The Age: Falling through the cracks: The hidden world of Melbourne’s teen couch surfers 24 Nov
ABC News: Young Australian couch surfers slipping through the cracks 24 Nov
WestJustice (report): Couch surfing limbo 24 Nov
Herald Sun: Andrews Government foils public housing rent grab plan 22 Nov
Guardian: Marriage equality is important, but let’s not forget homeless LGBTI youth 24 Nov
The Conversation: More and more older Australians will be homeless unless we act now 24 Nov
Herald Sun: State Government to sell East West Link homes for social housing 23 Nov


CHP Updates

SHS Transition Plan update


CHP is currently working on developing a homelessness sector Industry Transition Plan, together with the sector and funded by Government.

The plan is to be delivered to DHHS in March next year, and will provide us with priorities for development over the next four years.

VCOSS is leading the development of a broader Community Services Industry Plan with a ten year time frame, and complementary four year plans are being developed by CHIA Vic for community housing, the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare. A workforce plan is also underway for the family violence sector.

It is fantastic to have this type of government support for the development of the community sector. This is a wonderful opportunity for us to consider how to further build on the great work that is currently being done

CHP are conducting extensive sector consultations ranging from the consumers of services, to practitioners and management of both the SHS and allied sectors. There will be many opportunities to have your say.
We will be talking about both workforce and organisational issues including: Best practice service delivery approaches, What new skills our workforce might need to deliver them; and How technology will impact our work.
Two Industry Transition Planning Forum dates will be held in the coming weeks:

  • Friday 8 December in Ballarat (10:00am – 1:00pm) RSVP 
  • Wednesday 13 December in Melbourne CBD (NB. this session is fully booked, but please register your interest to be included in any follow up from the day.)

Please be involved and take these opportunities to share your ideas, opportunities and challenges. 

If you are not able to attend any of the forums or consultations, CHP will have an online survey in the coming weeks. Keep an eye for upcoming bulletins for more information. 

Further informationa aboutnthe forums or the plan visit the CHP website or email Nich Rogers (or 0404 808 452).


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.
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

16 days of activism


The 16 days of activism commenced on 25 November, enabling the community to stand up against gender inequality and show that we reject violence against women and the attitudes that drive it.

Every day, 210 Australian women seek help from a homelessness service due to family violence. In Victoria alone, the number is 99 per day.

Family violence is the second largest cause of homelessness in Victoria. Supporting #16days campaign is an opportunity for the homelessness sector to engage in primary prevention.

The new social media toolkit from Women’s Health In the South East (WHISE) explains each of the 16 days and its history. We encourage everyone with a social media presence to have a look. 

Hosting a Christmas meal service? Let us know
We are compiling a list of Victorian meal services operating on or around Christmas Day that are available to people experiencing homelessness or feeling isolated. We’re adding to the list daily. If your organisation is hosting a meal service, please contact and we will include you on the list.  

Are we good communicators? 


At CHP we do a lot of communication with our members and networks and we want to be sure that the information we provide, and the way that we provide it, serve you in the best possible way.  

This 5-minute survey will help us understand how we can better communicate with people and organisations in the homelessness sector. There’s also a chance to win a $100 gift card from Readings
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Belinda.

Become a CHP Member
Becoming a CHP member is the most effective way to support Council to Homeless Persons’ work to end homelessness. 


Make 2018 an informed year – Subscribe to Parity!
Here’s a link to the 2018 Parity subscription form… do yourself a favour and subscribe to Australia’s only periodical publication dedicated to homelessness and housing issues.  

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.



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© 2017 Council to Homeless Persons

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