CHP eNews 2017
18 May 2017
Low-income renters have a choice: Unaffordable or Severely Unaffordable rents!
The latest Rental Affordability Index (RAI) shows that a single parent on a low income can rent in just seven Melbourne suburbs to avoid ‘Severely Unaffordable’ rents, though even in these locations they would still be experiencing rental stress. The map below shows just how unaffordable it is for a single parent household earning $38,000 p.a. from part-time work plus Centrelink income looking to rent a 2-bedroom property. Red signifies ‘Extremely unaffordable’, dark orange ‘Severely unaffordable’ and light orange ‘Unaffordable’. Even some areas of regional Victoria are out of reach for a low-income single parent households.
The RAI, produced by National Shelter, SGS Economics and Community Sector Banking, tracks rental affordability relative to household income.
Federal Budget fails to deliver big-picture solutions to homelessness
Last week Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison delivered the Budget 2017-18. It included some wins, with the Federal Government maintaining the existing levels of homelessness funding delivered under the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness (NPAH) and the National Affordable Housing Agreement (NAHA), and increased the certainty of that funding. Also welcome was the commitment to a bond aggregator, which will reduce the cost of borrowing for community housing providers, though not address the subsidy needed for providers to house people on the lowest incomes.
We expressed concern that the additional investment needed to cope with the demand crisis was missing. We also expressed concern at the alarming proposals to cut off Newstart payments to drug users and those who skip Centrelink appointments, and to decline the Disability Support Pension to people with disability that is deemed to be a result of addiction. We highlighted how these measures would fast track vulnerable people into homelessness in this ABC TV story.
Watch this video of Jenny Smith giving a Budget reaction on behalf of Homelessness Australia. We’ve also undertaken a deep analysis of the Federal Budget papers to see what came out in the wash for homelessness and housing.
For those that are still catching up on the State Budget, don’t forget to check out our easy-to-read matrix What is in the Budget for housing and homelessness?
#MakeRentingFair trends at official campaign launch
The official launch of the Make Renting Fair campaign on Monday saw a full turnout of organisational supporters and speakers keen to influence the outcome of the Residential Tenancies Act Review. Social media was abuzz, and the #MakeRentingFair hashtag trended on Twitter for part of the day.
Speakers at the launch represented some of Victoria’s most vulnerable tenants including low-income earners, people from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and older tenants. CHP’s own Damien Patterson highlighted the ways in which proposed reforms to the Residential Tenancies Act – which include same-day eviction for past conduct and broader definitions of anti-social behavior – would give excessive powers to landlords and leave disadvantaged tenants more vulnerable. You can read our blog post ‘Five proposed changes to rental laws that will lead to more homelessness‘ here.
In an article in the Herald Sun, TUV and CHP pointed out that many of the reform options would be a ‘disaster’ for low-income earners and lead to an ‘immediate increase in people turning up to homelessness services.’
As the Victorian State Government undergoes its review of the Residential Tenancies Act, we encourage you to share and sign the Make Renting Fair petition and to email your local MP.
International Day against Homophobia Biphobia and Transphobia #IDAHOT
The 17 May marks the International Day against Homophobia Biphobia and Transphobia or #IDAHOBIT.
While rigorous data on LGBTI experiences of homelessness is lacking, the 2014 ABS General Social Survey found that LGBT people experience greater rates of homelessness than heterosexual people, with 20.8% of bisexual people and 33.7% of lesbian/gay people having ever been homeless, compared to 13.7% of heterosexuals. It’s also known that family rejection is a leading driver of LGBTI homelessness and this is believed to lead to them having their first experiences of homelessness at a younger age than the general population.
Stage 1 of the GALFA LGBTI Homelessness Research Project, released in January of this year, noted that shortcomings in data collection around LGBTI homelessness is a barrier to effective homelessness service provision. The Research Project’s recommendations included that data collection include sex, sexual orientation and gender identity, and, mandatory LGBTI training for all homelessness services.
To find out more about LGBTI homelessness, visit the GALFA Homeless project website
Director of Housing update – Homes for Victorians social housing and homelessness Industry Engagement Plan
The release of Homes for Victorians’ $799 million in additional homeless and housing support and $2.1 billion in financial instruments has provided a significant opportunity to shape and grow social housing and homeless assistance in Victoria. The State Government will work collaboratively with the community housing and homelessness service sectors, private industry and local government to plan and deliver new products and approaches aimed at helping those most in need.
DHHS has produced a plan provides an indicative guide to engagement opportunities for the various different initiatives.
Homelessness Week 2017
Homelessness Week 2017 will be held from the 7-13 of August. The event represents an opportunity for us to highlight the work of the sector, recognise barriers to ending homelessness in Victoria and most importantly, to recognise our consumers. CHP is encouraging agencies and complementary services to host an event in the week prior to Homeless Persons Week, to leverage a pre-Parliamentary sitting week. Inviting your local MP to an event prior to a parliamentary sitting week is an effective way to inform public debate about homelessness. Homelessness Week is a chance to celebrate our clients but and inform our local MPs and media about what is needed to end homelessness where we live and work.
If you would like to discuss hosting an event contact Damien, or for tips to get your local media along contact Lanie.
Extension! Family Violence workforce Census open until 19 May
The Victorian Government is developing a 10-year Industry Plan as a key recommendation of the Royal Commission into Family Violence. To be effective this needs to be informed by a clearer picture of Victoria’s family violence workforce. The family violence workforce census has been designed to gather information about all staff who play a role in preventing and responding to family violence in Victoria.
We urge you to participate. Click here to learn more and complete online. Participation is voluntary and you won’t be asked for your name. The census is open until 19 May.
CHP’s top picks
Visit CHP’s what’s on page for more events and information.