Only social housing will get homeless Victorians off the street


27 May 2019

In the wake of the weekend’s tragic murder of Courtney Herron in Parkville, Victoria’s peak body for homelessness Council to Homeless Persons (CHP) offers its condolences to her family and friends.

“Violence against women occurs in every part of our society, but homeless women are particularly vulnerable,” says CHP CEO Jenny Smith. “There are far too few housing options that women on low incomes can afford, and crisis accommodation and refuges are full of people who can’t move on to permanent housing, because the affordable options just aren’t there.’’

“Too often there just isn’t a safe option for homeless women, leaving them vulnerable to the risks of sleeping rough, or of staying in unsafe housing options like rooming houses, where they are vulnerable to physical and sexual assault.“

“The Victorian Government has led significant reform to address family violence, including making investments in housing and support. On Friday, the Government confirmed it will build the 1,000 units of public housing by 2022, that it promised prior to the election.  It also confirmed that it will re-fund the Private Rental Assistance Program, which rapidly rehouses those escaping family violence who can afford a private tenancy.

“But, there are 41,677 households on the waiting list for social housing in Victoria. This is 82,500 individual people, including almost 25,000 children. Research has identified that Victoria has a shortfall of 102,800 social housing properties.”

“The Victorian Government needs to increase its investment to deliver 3,000 social housing properties a year.

“The Federal Government should also do a lot more to address homelessness, including more than matching the State Government’s investment in social housing,” says Ms Smith.

“We can protect women like Courtney, but as a society have to choose to do it and it’s a choice that Victoria can and should make.”

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