Homelessness Election Platform 2018


In the lead up to the Victorian State Election, Council to Homeless Persons has released a blueprint for ending homelessness in Victoria – the Homelessness Election Platform

Recently mapped data shows that homelessness is an issue in every single Victorian electorate. As such, addressing homelessness must be a top priority for the next State Government. 

We know that with the right measures in place, ending homelessness is achievable and we’re calling on local candidates to show they’re serious about ending homelessness by publicly committing to the 17 proposals in CHPs Homelessness Election Platform. 

We’ve also put together materials for those wishing to advocate for homelessness in their local electorates and to help them campaign for candidates to adopt the Platform in the lead up to the State Election (24 November 2018).

The Platform calls for action in 6 key areas that will help end homelessness in our State: 

A housing system that works

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82,000 Victorians are waiting for social housing and 80% of those people are waiting for one or two bedroom properties. With more affordable housing and, the right kind of it, we can fix Victoria’s broken housing system.

Candidates should commit to a boost of 3,000 new public and community housing dwellings per year for 10 years, with 1,500 being one & two bedroom homes for singles, couples or small families. 

Measures to prevent homelessness

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While not every eviction causes homelessness, over 13,000 people came to Victorian homelessness services last year,  predominantly because of an eviction.

State election candidates should pledge to stop renters being evicted into homelessness by helping them to pay back rental arrears and by providing more legal advice and support.  

The number of Victorians who have been discharged from mental health facilities into homelessness has also grown  — by 65% in the past five years. Over the same period of time, prisoner exits into homelessness have grown by 188%.

We want the new State Government to help people exiting prison and psychiatric care to get housing to prevent them from exiting straight into homelessness.  

Closing the gap on Aboriginal homelessness

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Aboriginal Victorians make up 0.8 per cent of the total population, but 9.5 per cent of all homelessness service users. Homelessness compounds other disadvantages experienced disproportionately by Aboriginal Victorians, including poor health outcomes, over-incarceration, parent and child separations, and family violence.

This is why the next State Government must expand homelessness service delivery in prevention, early intervention, and ongoing support capacity delivered by Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations.

Intervening early to end homelessness

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Preventing homelessness and assisting people to find a new permanent home will always be the main priorities of those working to end homelessness. However, when people do experience homelessness, an immediate short-term response must be available, while more permanent arrangements are made.

There are 1,184 registered rooming houses in Victoria and 128 supported residential services. While some operators provide safe environments, others are unsafe and of poor quality and residents’ health and wellbeing can suffer as a consequence. With all stakeholders in agreement, the next Government should fund outreach support workers into rooming houses and other forms of marginal accommodation. This simple and low-cost intervention can support many of Victoria’s most marginalised people to live healthier lives, participate in our community more fully, and be better connected.

Rapid growth in demand for homelessness services in Victoria, (which grew 28 per cent from 86,150 people to 109,901 between 2012 and 2017) has put also pressure on the Housing Establishment Fund. We’re asking the State Government to increase the Housing Establishment Fund and/or flexible funding, to reflect increased the demand and costs of crisis accommodation.

Ending chronic homelessness

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Homelessness experts in Australia and across the world have conclusively demonstrated that the solution to housing chronically homeless populations is housing and support for as long as recovery may take; an approach known as Permanent Supportive Housing or ‘Housing First’. 

By ensuring that there is growth in Victoria’s social housing stock, and setting part of it aside for Housing First programs, we can make sure we have what’s required to ensure that Victoria’s chronically homeless rough sleeping population get the support that they need.  

Youth

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Children experiencing homelessness are not having their shelter needs met. It is also likely that they have unmet needs in relation to education, family support, counselling, guidance, and financial support. Currently, the provision of these supports is ad hoc and lacks a comprehensive youth homelessness strategy or framework — we’re calling for a joined-up approach. 

We want rent subsidies for young people leaving refuges, programs to help homeless youth stay in education, and more youth refuges.