CHP eNews 2017
23 February 2017
More not less funds needed for public housing and homelessness
In recent weeks, the media has reported on the Federal Government’s plans to overhaul the National Housing Affordability Agreement (NAHA), casting uncertainty over the future of $1.35 billion of annual funding to housing and homelessness services.
The rumoured changes to NAHA have alarmed the homelessness sector, with service delivery at risk of being decimated by the potential loss of the $275 million for homelessness services in the agreement, and fears for the future of already scarce public and community housing.
Since the initial reports, Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison has provided reassurance that the $275 million homelessness funding component will continue, but insists that the NAHA needs an overhaul
The Treasurer, and other commentators have made misleading statements about the NAHA, including that the amount of public housing has declined. Read CHP’s blog which sets the record straight on these claims.
You can get behind our efforts to secure the future of public housing funding in Australia by signing this petition calling on the Federal Government to release an affordable housing and homelessness plan. We also encourage you to email the Prime Minister, Treasurer and Minister for Social Services directly to let them know that you feel strongly about protecting public and community housing.
Melbourne, don’t criminalise homelessness
In response to the spike in CBD rough sleeping, and increasingly negative media coverage of homelessness, the City of Melbourne has proposed amendments to local laws which would broaden the existing ban on camping, allow confiscation of unattended items and introduce fines. Homeless Law has created a website Melbourne, don’t criminalise homelessness as a handy reference to understand the implications of such a bylaw.
The homelessness sector has made its opposition to these proposals clear through a series of open letters to the media, and direct engagement with Council and the State Government. The City of Melbourne’s is asking for feedback on the proposed bylaws, with a 28-day consultation
How you, and your organisation, can have a say:
National survey of renters reveals appalling state of private rental market
The first national survey of tenants has revealed renters in Australia have little security, are living in poor quality homes, experience discrimination based on their income, age, parental status and are fearful of reprisal if they request repairs and maintenance. Unsettled: Life in Australia’s Private Rental Market, was produced by consumer group Choice, the National Shelter and the National Association of Tenant Organisations. The survey generated enormous media coverage and prompted many renters to share their horror stories using the #rentinoz hashtag. Last year Victorian homelessness services had 35,000 renters come to them for help. Our sector bears the burden of a broken rental market, with vulnerable people increasingly pushed into substandard properties, or unable to find a property they can afford, and this survey confirms what we’ve long known.
Make renting fair campaign
The Victorian Government is currently reviewing the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA), which controls safety, security and privacy for 1.2 million people across the state. CHP has made a submission, which we will share with the sector in the near future.
This is a rare opportunity to make positive changes to these laws, but we are also at risk of seeing consumer protections for tenants weakened. If this happens, more vulnerable tenants will be the ones hit hardest, and the result will be more people needing help from homelessness services.
The Tenants Union of Victoria founded the Make Renting Fair Campaign to make renting fair for everyone. Please email the campaign to indicate your support.
Sometimes you’ve gotta laugh…
Not all media coverage of homelessness is vitriolic, and many journalists try hard to deliver balanced reporting… sometimes even with some humor thrown in. Last week ABC TV’s The Weekly with Charlie Pickering examined homelessness and the Flinders Street rough sleeping debate and concluded that to end homelessness we need more housing. Genius! We loved the segment and we’re sure you will too, if only to hear a comedian explain the benefits of Housing First. We encourage you to share it through your social media channels and tag @charliepick and @theweeklytv!
Productivity Commission Reform of Human Services Issues paper
The Productivity Commission reform of human services issues paper consultation is now closed. With ‘Family and Community Services’ identified as suitable for reform through previous stages in the inquiry, CHP provided advice to the Commission to ensure the best outcomes for those experiencing homelessness, and specialist homelessness services. You can read our submission here.
Family violence protection kit
The Tenants Union of Victoria has created a Family Violence Protection Kit kit designed for support workers and advocates who assist people affected by family violence. The purpose of the kit is to help people in rental housing to know their rights, have a secure home and limit any financial loss.
What’s on? CHP’s top picks
What’s on? CHP’s top picks for events and training:
Visit CHP’s what’s on page for more events and information.
In the news – in case you missed it!
Calls for contributions
You are invited to contribute an article to the March edition of Parity “I shall be released: Post-release and homelessness”. Contributions must be submitted by 3 March 2017. Download the contributions flier for more details or contact Parity editor Noel.
Conferences and events
SAVE THE DATE: CHP Conference 13-14 September, Melbourne Town Hall
Keynote speaker: Professor Tomás O’Sullivan from Trinity College Dublin is a leading academic on homelessness in Europe, and editor of the European Journal on Homelessness. His particular experience relates to housing led approaches to ending homelessness, and to ending homelessness for young people who are experiencing more entrenched homelessness.
CHP Consultation: City of Melbourne Homelessness Bylaw
The City of Melbourne is proposing amendments to the Activities Local Law 2009, which, if passed, would impact rough sleepers in the Melbourne CBD and their belongings. Consultation on the amendment is now open, and organisations and individuals are encouraged to make a formal submission. CHP will be making a submission and is running this event as a two-way mechanism to capture stakeholder views on the City of Melbourne’s proposal, and share our own views. If you are thinking of making a submission, or want to ensure that we reflect your views on this matter, you are encouraged to attend. You can register here.
CEDA Keynote address: Affordable housing
Keynote speaker: Housing Minister Martin Foley
The Victorian Government will release its Housing Strategy in the coming weeks, including a raft of initiatives to ensure more social housing and a better mix of affordable homes for Victorians.
Victorian Housing Minister Martin Foley and Chief Executive of Infrastructure Victoria Michel Masson will examine demand, new investment, policy changes and alternative approaches to the growing issue of housing affordability.
Date: Thursday, 16 March 2017
Time: 12.00pm to 2.00pm
Supporting Practice with Complex Trauma Clients
Provides practitioners with the foundational knowledge, skills and tools for working clinically with adult survivors of complex trauma.
Date: Monday 8 May 2017
Cost: from $237 early bird (ends Mar 13) – full price $310
Trauma-Informed Care and Practice in Domestic and Family Violence Services
Provides the trauma-informed information and skills needed by personnel working with people and families with experiences of domestic and family violence, past and current.
Date: Friday, 10 March 2017
Cost: from $279
How to better support tenants experiencing housing crisis due to family violence
The Tenants Union of Victoria are offering free training on better supporting tenants experiencing a housing crisis as a result of family violence.
Date: Thursday 9 March 2017
Time: 9.30am to 12.30pm
Venue: Sunshine (details to be advised)
Using the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (RTA) in conjunction with the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 (FVPA), the training will examine how to provide support and protection for tenants that may, due to family violence issues. See the flyer for further details.