CHP eNews 2014
27 November 2014
Family violence pushed 18,000 women to homelessness services last year
White Ribbon Day, held on Tuesday 25 November, is an annual event to raise awareness about men’s violence against women. Last year more than 18,000 Victorian women presented at homelessness services with family violence the main cause of their homelessness. This represents one-quarter of all SHS clients. Family violence is the number one driver of homelessness in Australia.
We have been calling for more rapid rehousing programs to support women escaping family violence to avoid homeless. CHP is proposing an investment of $118 million over four years in rapid rehousing programs that help people who are staying in temporary and crisis accommodation. The programs provide support, rent bonds and short-term rent subsidies to get them on their feet with a fresh start. These programs aren’t targeted specifically at women who’ve left family violence, but they are one of the major client groups who would benefit. The investment would help over 5,000 people a year to get back into housing fast, preventing the lasting impacts of homelessness. Jenny Smith, our CEO, was interviewed by ABC’s AM program about the need for greater housing support for vulnerable women. Read our full media release here.
Kids leaving care
In the lead-up to the election the Council to Homeless Persons with the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare, Berry Street and the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency have called on Government to invest an average of $13.8m per year over four years in a guaranteed housing fund and the support that will bridge the gap for young people leaving state care.
More than 400 young people leave state care each year to independent living and research shows that more than a third of these young people will end up homeless in the first year, with a lack of affordable housing the main factor. Aboriginal young people are particularly vulnerable and are overly represented in out of home care. CHP has also prepared an infographic showing that young people leaving state care don’t have the safety net that other young people have. Read our full media release here.
Children in rooming houses
Last week The Age featured a story on the children in rooming houses, including interviews with Uniting Care Harrison and MacCauley Community Services for Women. Analysis of AIHW data shows that there were 134 children under 9 years of age living in rooming houses in Victoria last year, up from 73 the year before. The data also counted 53 children sleeping in improvised building/dwellings (which includes sleeping in tents). Although much of the increase may be due to improved data collection, reports of even one child in a rooming house are deeply concerning.
With less than 1-in-10 rental properties being affordable to people on low incomes, vulnerable people are left with few accommodation options. We need to divert families away from rooming houses by expanding rapid rehousing programs like Accommodation Options for Families (AOF). AOF helped 175 families to find secure housing in its first 12 months of operation. But the AOF program has limited funding and places in the AOF program fill up fast.
Unpacking election announcements
We sent out a sector bulletin this week which summarised and analysed the election commitments from the Victorian Coalition, ALP and Greens parties. This quick reference table outlines all the commitments in a simple format. Our overall assessment was that although there have been a handful of stand-alone announcements, neither major party have provided a coherent strategy on how they will tackle homelessness and address the chronic shortage of affordable housing. We weren’t the only ones scrutinising homelessness this past week. There has been a surge of media coverage on the invisible election issue, including this excellent analysis in the Sunday Age, a feature in The Guardian and a small article in the Herald Sun. ABC’s 7.30 program quizzed the Treasure and Shadow Treasurer on their homelessness policies (the impatient can fast forward to 10 mins 30 secs for the brief but important homelessness discussion).
Take a #UNselfie to #EndYouthHomelessness
This International Day of Giving on 2 December, Yfoundations is encouraging people to take an #UNselfie and upload it to social media to tell the world why you want to #EndYouthHomelessness.
Here are the easy steps for participating:
Homeground and Hanover to merge
Two of Melbourne’s largest and most respected housing and homelessness services have announced that they will join forces. This will make them by far the largest, secular organisation with a singular focus on ending homelessness and boost their capacity to respond to the growing demand on their services. A new name has yet to be decided.
Read Homeground’s media release here and Hanover’s media release here.
City of Melbourne seeks feedback on Helping Out Guide
The City of Melbourne’s Helping Out Guide provides a comprehensive list of free and low cost services available from more than 70 organisations in the central city and surrounding suburbs, including services that offer free and cheap food, accommodation, health, drug and alcohol as well as emergency and crisis services, counselling, where to find showers and laundries plus legal advice. The booklet is updated annually, and the City of Melbourne is currently seeking feedback about the 2015 edition. Help to keep this resource current and useful by filling out this survey.
ER Victoria – supporting you and your rights
ER Victoria is the peak body for the emergency relief sector. They have produced a plain-English poster for community organisation waiting rooms, municipal libraries and community noticeboards to tell people about the range of advocacy bodies that support a person’s rights. Download the poster here.
ER Victoria have also produced a short video which features interviews with people who, for different reasons, are in need of help from emergency relief agencies. The video aims to highlight the level of vulnerability within the community and encourage individuals, communities, business and government to recognise the role of the emergency relief sector in supporting Victoria’s most vulnerable.
From here to uncertainty: the quiet revolution in Australian housing
Date: Thu 4 Dec 2014
Venue: Parliament House, Canberra ACT
This AHURI event will give you the opportunity to join Hon Kevin Andrews MP (Federal Minister for Social Services), Professor Gavin Wood (AHURI Research Centre—RMIT University) and Mr Patrick McClure AO to discuss the future of Australian housing, and the housing and welfare policy reforms that will be required. Register via: http://www.ahuri.edu.au/event/event_20141204
Seminar: Circumstance Matters: digital access and affordability for people experiencing homelessness
Date: Thursday 27 November 2014
Venue: Swinburne University of Technology, Room EN102
Access to and affordability of digital technology for vulnerable and disadvantaged Australians is an ongoing concern. This talk reports on new research on the access and use of mobile and internet services by people experiencing homelessnes. Justine Humphry is a Lecturer in Cultural and Social Analysis at the University of Western Sydney and previously was a Research Fellow and Lecturer in the Digital Cultures Program in the Department of Media and Communication at the University of Sydney.
In case you missed the news!
CHP FORUM: Facilitating access and supporting treatment: The role of homelessness workers in the changed mental health and AOD sectors
There have been significant changes to both the Mental Health and Alcohol and Other Drug sectors this year. Making sure people experiencing homelessness can get the assistance they need within these new systems is critical. This forum will bring SHS workers together with representatives from Mental Health and AOD organisations tasked with regional intake, support and local area coordination to discuss how best to support clients accessing, waiting for, or receiving support and treatment.
Date: 9 December 2014
Venue: The Main Hall, St Michaels Uniting Church, 120 Collins St Melbourne
More info: Trish Westmore firstname.lastname@example.org
Call for contributions – February 2015: ‘Homelessness Outreach: Reach Out’
Homelessness outreach is now an integral part of the specialist homelessness services system. This edition of Parity will explore the the role of outreach in homelessness service delivery and in a growing number of mainstream welfare service providers.
Contributions of 800 – 1600 words are invited, with a deadline of Friday 13 February
Contribution details can be found here.
Jacqui recently spoke at the Wombat AGM, and the feedback was very positive: “Her talk really did resonate with us, in particularly just the thought that homelessness could affect any of us – given her history. She was warm, articulate and responsive to what was happening at the AGM.”
PESP members are available as guest speakers at your events or to deliver Understanding Homelessness Training to staff.
Danny and Ben have been working with the VEC as part of the homeless enrolment outreach. The VEC told us that Ben was “organised, proactive and showed initiative” and was “very passionate about providing the homeless with an opportunity to enrol and vote.”
About Danny, the VEC said, “through his shared experience he was able to connect very easily with our audience,” and that he was “very passionate and knowledgeable about issues facing people experiencing homelessness.”
Introduction to Trauma-Informed Care
This workshop will explore how we can all work more supportively – as individuals and organisations – within the context of trauma. Course material will include a balance of different approaches, including both lived experience and professional perspectives. For more information and to register click here.
Date: Thursday 4 and Friday 5 December 2014,
Location: VICSERV, Elsternwick, Victoria
The bankmecu-VCOSS Finance Network presents: Reimagining the Relationship Between the Community Sector and Government
Date: 5 December 2014
The Bankmecu-VCOSS Finance Network present their last event for 2014, inviting a panel to share their reimagined vision for community sector-government relationships in 2015 and beyond.
Date: Friday, 5 December 2014
Time: 3:00pm – 5:00pm, followed by networking and end of year drinks from 5:00 – 6:00pm
Venue: Victoria Room, Queen Victoria Women’s Centre, 210 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne 3000
Cost: Free for VCOSS Members, $90 for non-members
This one-day workshop will provide practical tips and guidelines for documentation of the care and support provided to consumers, families and carers. There will be a focus on clear documentation according to legislative requirements, organisational policy and procedures and sector best practice.
Date: Thursday 12 February 2015
Location: VICSERV, Elsternwick, Victoria.
For more information and to register click here.
Australasian Housing Researchers Conference 2015
Hosted by the AHURI Research Centre, the Australasian Housing Researchers is open to all researchers concerned with housing affordability and homelessness, housing policy and planning, housing economics, housing sustainability, and regional, national and international housing markets.
Date: 18-20 February 2015
Location: University of Tasmania, Hobart
More info here.
VAADA conference ‘Evolution: Innovation and reflection in Victoria’s alcohol and other drug sector’
Date: 19-20 February 2015
Location: Catholic Leadership Centre, 576 Victoria Parade, East Melbourne
Registrations and more info: http://conference.vaada.org.au
National Housing Conference 2015
Date: Wed 28 – Fri 30 Oct 2015
Location: Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre, Perth WA
Join us in Perth as AHURI convenes the ninth National Housing Conference in partnership with the Western Australian Department of Housing. Register now to take advantage of the special super saver registration fees!