CHP eNews 2017
4 May 2017
State Budget investments welcomed – but Federal action needed
The Council to Homeless persons has congratulated the Victorian Government on the significant investments in housing, homelessness and family violence announced in this year’s State Budget. While many of the commitments outlined in the Budget had been announced previously, they are worth recognising a second time; in particular, the Government’s major housing centrepiece Homes for Victorians, which includes $1 billion commitment to a Social Housing Growth fund. The other big news in this year’s budget was the $1.9 billion investment in family violence services. Given the insidious relationship between homelessness and family violence, this commitment is highly commended
While recognising the positive measures taken in this State Budget, CHP’s CEO Jenny Smith has warned that Federal commitments will also be needed to stem the rising tide of homelessness. Ms. Smith has urged the Federal government to follow Victoria’s lead and increase spending on social housing and homelessness in the 2017 Federal Budget, to be handed down on Tuesday 9 May.
You can read our media release here and you can also view our easy-to-read matrix: What is in the Budget for housing and homelessness?
Anglicare Australia release Rental Affordability Snapshot 2017
Anglicare Australia’s Rental Affordability Snapshot has highlighted the worsening crisis in rental affordability being faced by Australians on low incomes. The annual report assesses the number of private rental properties that are affordable and appropriate for people living on minimum wage and government payments. The key findings included:
- Australia wide, less than 0.1% of properties are affordable to singles on the Disability Support Pension, Youth Allowance or Newstart.
- Only 1.62% of properties are affordable to singles on the Age Pension.
- Just 2.83% of properties are affordable for single people on minimum wage and just over a quarter are affordable to two parent/two child households working full-time on the minimum wage.
- Insufficient income support payments are trapping people in rental stress, forcing them to forgo other necessities such as food, health care or educational opportunities and resulting in many living under the threat of homelessness.
The report is a reminder of the cascading effects of rental unaffordability upon some of Australia’s most economically disadvantaged and Anglicare Australia has urged for urgent action on the crisis in the upcoming Federal Budget. The report’s recommendations to make housing more affordable include; winding back negative gearing and capital gains tax exemptions, a national renters rights plan, a housing first approach to ending homelessness and increased funding for community and public housing.
Read the full report here
ALP release Federal housing strategy
On 21 April, the Federal Australian Labor Party released its housing affordability strategy, which included the restoration of a National Housing Supply Council, a Safe Housing Funding program which restores $88 million of capital funding for crisis accommodation for vulnerable groups, nomination of a housing minister, changes to negative gearing and capital gains tax, and renewal of the National Affordable Housing Agreement with new measurement targets. On behalf of Homelessness Australia, Jenny Smith welcomed the announcement, and took the opportunity to urge the ALP to make a commitment to new funding for public and community housing. With the Federal election looming, Commonwealth investment in social housing will continue to be a hot topic, and one that CHP will continue to push hard on.
Two-thirds of homelessness services are unable to meet client demand under current Government funding, report shows.
Last week the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) released a report that confirms what the sector has long known; that the current level of Government investment in homelessness services falls far short of what is needed.
The report, Inquiry into funding and delivery of homelessness programs, showed that only one-third of homelessness services said that they could meet current client needs with their existing funding, with 86% of funding being derived from Government, primarily under the National Affordable Housing Agreement (NAHA) and the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness (NPAH).
Although the AHURI report indicated that there is potential to grow funding from philanthropic streams and social impact investments, it very clearly concluded that these diversified funding streams will never be able to replace Government investment.
A major recommendation of the report is that that government must increase their investment. We keenly await the outcome of the Federal Budget on Tuesday 9 May, and encourage you to get behind the campaign to #SaveNAHA. Read our blog here.
Homeless Persons Week 2017
Homeless Persons 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. Homeless Persons Week doesn’t just represent an opportunity to celebrate our clients but is also an opportunity to 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.
Letter campaign to save Rooming House Outreach funding
In less than 2 months the Tenants Union of Victoria’s Rooming House Outreach Programs in the North West and South East will end after Consumer Affairs Victoria redirected funding. Rooming house residents are amongst the most vulnerable tenants groups and closure of TUV’s Outreach programs will result in significantly reduced support to residents across the entire Melbourne Metro Region.
To help the Outreach Program retain the funding it needs, TUV is requesting that letters of support for the program be sent to Minister for Consumer Affairs, Marlene Kairouz. We strongly urge those in the homelessness sector to add their voice to this grassroots campaign calling on State Government to reconsider the funding cuts to this important service. Materials to assist in letter composition can be found here.
Family Violence workforce Census
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.
There is one day left to complete the survey and we strongly encourage 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 from 10 April to 5 May.
Rooming house operators licensing scheme – update
The new Rooming House Operators Act came into effect on 26 April, requiring all existing operators to be licensed by 24 August. This new regulation is one that CHP has long called for, and something to be celebrated.
Those applying for a rooming house license must now satisfy a ‘fit and proper test’, including a criminal history check, a financial history check, and checks against various offences. Operators who opt to close their rooming house rather than apply for a license have been advised to issue an appropriate notice to vacate by 26 April.
Obviously there are significant implications for homelessness services should a number of rooming houses close their doors. We ask you to let CHP know if they are aware of clients being given notice to vacate due to rooming house closures by emailing Damien.
Consumer Affairs Victoria recently conducted a series of information sessions for the sector, and the full presentation is available here.
Social Impact Bonds to help homeless
The Victorian Government announced last year that they would be supporting two social impact bonds; one to support young people leaving state care, and another to address drug and alcohol misuse. The Victorian Government have now nominated two programs for their new social impact bonds program, and both will focus on ending homelessness.
Social impact bonds are a novel new way to fund social services. Governments attract private investment in social programs by promising performance-based payouts should the program succeed. The program runs on that private investment and measures its impact against performance measures that represent savings to the government (ie. reduced hospitalsation for participants). Those savings are returned to the private investor.
Social impact bonds are being trialled across the world, though are not really widespread anywhere yet. They may yet prove to be an exciting way to fund early intervention for the highly vulnerable, though are unlikely to replace direct government investment in services entirely. CHP will continue to watch this space.
CHP’s top picks
Visit CHP’s what’s on page for more events and information.
Calls for contributions – last day
Today is the last day to contribute an article to the May edition of Parity “Revisiting Homelessness Data”. Contributions must be submitted by Friday 5 May 2017. Download the contributions flier for more details or contact Parity editor Noel.
Conferences and events
CHP Conference 13-14 September
We are excited to announce that this year’s Victorian homelessness conference will have a dedicated youth homelessness stream alongside the generalist homelessness program. This is the result of Melbourne City Mission partnering with CHP to run the annual Family Reconciliation and Mediation Program conference as part of the CHP conference. More details to come, but be assured that this year’s conference will be a very special one. Please put the dates in your calendar.
The keynote speaker: Professor Eoin O’Sullivan from Trinity College Dublin is a leading academic on homelessness in Europe, and editor of the European Journal on Homelessness. You can listen to Prof. O’Sullivan talk in this video about the Irish homelessness crisis, which has so many parallels with what we are seeing in Australia.
Registrations will open soon, subscribe to conference updates here
Victorian Disability Awards Nominations
Nominations for the Victorian Disability Awards have been extended until Friday, 5 May 2017. You still have an opportunity to nominate a person, team or organisation that deserves to be recognised. The awards recognise people who make an outstanding contribution to empowering and including people with a disability. Don’t let great work go unnoticed. To find out more or nominate visit the DHHS website.
If you have any questions please contact the secretariat on 9096 8057 or email email@example.com
Nominations Close: Friday 5 May
Make Renting Fair Campaign Launch
The Victorian Government is currently reviewing the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) which controls safety, stability and privacy for renters across the state. The Tenants Union of Victoria has founded The Make Renting Fair Campaign to take advantage of the opportunity to improve the lives of the 1.2 million Victorians who rent and, to prevent the weakening of consumer protections for tenants. The campaign will have its public launch on Monday the 15th of May and all are invited to come along to show support for the rights of Victorian tenants. You can also sign and share this petition and join the conversation at #makerentingfair.
Date: 15 May, 10am
Location: The Assembly Hall, Collins St
The Hidden Others Short Film Competition
The Hidden Others youth homelessness film competition is for young people aged 12-24 years to create a short film on the issue of youth homelessness. It aims to raise community awareness and provide an opportunity for young people to take action whilst learning more about filmmaking. For further information, visit the Hidden Others Website, check out their Facebook page and follow them on Instagram at #hiddenothers
Entries close: Monday 31 July
The Australian and New Zealand Addiction Conference
The Conference hosted by the Australian & New Zealand Mental Health Association will cover topics surrounding prevention, treatment and recovery and will include presentations from leading sector specialists, researchers, psychologists and medical practitioners in addition to multiple concurrent streams, poster presentations and workshops.
Date: 15-17 May
Download the Wodonga TAFE SHS Training Calendar
Case Management Practice
Case management practice is a core skill in the child, youth and family services sector. This one-day workshop will help provide you with the foundations of strong case management practice to apply into your own context.
Date: Monday 8th & Tuesday 9th May
Location: Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Date: 29th May
Location: Melbourne CBD
Making your numbers Count: Using Data effectively
Date: 30th May
Location: Melbourne CBD
Working with Vulnerable Families
Date: 31 May
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
In the news – in case you missed it!