CHP eNews 5 October Can Victoria’s tenancy laws help prevent homelessness?


CHP eNews 2017
5 October 2017
Welcome to Victorian Homelessness Conference attendees. You can manage your subscription options at the bottom of this email.

Dear *|FNAME|*,

Do Victoria’s tenancy laws prevent vulnerable tenants from becoming homeless?  
In an environment where rents are soaring and options for tenants are few, vulnerable people become more at risk of homelessness.
The state of homelessness and tenancy regulation in Victoria was explored in depth last week when Tenants Victoria chief executive Mark O’Brien went Facebook LIVE with Damien Patterson from the Council to Homeless Persons.

With the Victorian Government currently reviewing the Residential Tenancies Act, and considering options for reform that would weaken tenants protections, we need to keep advocating to ensure Victoria has fair rental laws that keep people housed and safe. Watch Damien and Mark discuss improving renter’s rights and the campaign to make renting fair at the  Make Renting Fair Campaign website.

City of Melbourne resolved to not pursue punitive bylaws
Last week the Lord Mayor Robert Doyle announced that the City of Melbourne would not pursue punitive bylaws targeting rough sleepers. This has now been followed with a formal Council vote to suspend its consideration of the bylaws proposal.
At a press conference the Lord Mayor, flanked by Health Minister Jill Hennessy and Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton, indicated Council would instead continue with its initiatives to increase outreach to people sleeping rough, provide safe spaces, and enhance coordination efforts.

CHP and other sector members welcomed this announcement, which followed months of advocacy and input from the public.
The Council also indicated they would more actively use existing laws that relate to rough sleepers, continuing processes developed over past months between Council compliance officers and Victoria Police, which are now documented in the new protocol revealed last week.
The protocol discourages people sleeping rough from keeping more than two bags and bedding with them, but does not impose fines, and reasserts existing laws that enable Council workers to confiscate mattresses or tents if they have been left unattended, if they impact on the enjoyment or use of public space, or if they block the entrances to buildings. 

Getting the language right

The language media use when reporting on homelessness has a great influence on the perceptions of the general public and decision makers.  While we’ve largely moved on from derogatory terms like ‘hobo’ and ‘dero’, language that perpetrates stereotypes and victim-blaming persists. Because of this, CHP has developed a set of guidelines to help media discuss homelessness in a way that is both constructive and respectful.  These guidelines are outlined in our recently updated blog: Getting the language right when we talk about homelessness – we encourage you to share these with your networks, media and anyone interested in writing or talking about homelessness. 

Missed the Victorian Homelessness Conference?
You can still catch up. Download speakers session slides from our website and check out the highlights from the Victorian Homelessness Conference 2017 on Twitter.

Make your voice heard in the marriage equality survey
CHP encourages everyone to return their Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey form before October 27.

The ABS can still replace lost or stolen forms up until 20 October. For additional information, please visit or call 1800 572 113.

Anti-Poverty Week 2017 

Anti-Poverty Week 2017 (October 15-21) is fast approaching. This is a great opportunity for the homelessness sector to continue our engagement with our Victorian Members of Parliament.
Whether you’re holding an event to highlight the issue of poverty in Australia, or just inviting your MP to visit your service, we think that the talking points below will help lead to better responses from our political leaders.
1. This is what homelessness looks like in your electorate.
Let them know who comes through your doors. Maybe you support a lot of young people who can’t live at home, women and children escaping violence, or socially isolated men on low incomes. The MP is also likely to be interested in forms of homelessness and the difficulties people face while experiencing it – i.e. woman and children living in cars without access to cooking facilities, young people couch surfing and how these relationships break down, or men living in rooming houses crammed in with people who have complex needs.
2. This is what we do to support people.
  • the Front Door service, and how many people they assist to get housing (and the types of housing people get access to)
  • the dedicated responses different cohorts get (ie. the youth refuge, the adult refuge), 
  • the other services provided by homelessness and other services (case management, food relief and financial assistance, health, mental health and addiction support).
3. This is what we can’t do.
What are the local gaps? Maybe you can’t get people into affordable housing that they can sustain. Maybe there is no response to those with highly complex mental health needs. Maybe there is no support to young people aged 22-25? Whatever the major frustration points are locally, let them know.

World Homelessness Day #WHD17
World Homeless Day is coming up on 10 October. We’re using this opportunity to continue calling for 100,000 new public and community housing properties across Australia, and hope you’ll join in! The resources below will help you spread the message through your social media channels. We have over 2,000 signatures and we’re aiming for 10,000 by Christmas.  We know that homes are critical to fix homelessness – what we need now is enough of a show of support to create the political will to build them!

Speaking with one voice we can make sure that this World Homeless Day, Treasurer Scott Morrison hears our call – we need 100,000 homes to end homelessness.

Key messages:

  • We’re supporting Christine’s call for #100KHomes
  • Australia needs more public and community housing to end homelessness
  • Ask Scott Morrison to end the housing crisis
  • Please use the hashtags #WHD17  #100KHomes 

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 CHP Updates
Council to Homeless Persons 2017 AGM – save the date
CHP’s Annual General Meeting will take place on Monday 20 November at the Richmond Town Hall from 2pm.  Put the date in your diary now. 

Go LIVE with Sacred Heart Mission
Sacred Heart Mission is hosting a Facebook LIVE panel discussion during Anti-Poverty Week to explore pathways out of poverty. 
Got questions? Tune in to their Facebook page on October 18 from Midday to 1pm.
Mission staff will discuss why social and economic participation is so important, 
what clients had to say at their last economic participation Client Engagement Forum and what the Mission is doing to help people out of poverty.

Mental Health Week 2017

#mentalhealth, #mhw17
The link between homelessness and mental health is bi-directional. Mental Health Day and Mental Health Week are moments to break down stigma and promote awareness of mental health issues and intervention.  This year, World Mental Health Day is 10th of October and Mental Health Week 2017 will run from Sunday 8th to Saturday 14th October. There is also a launch of Mental Health Week, to be held on Monday, 9th of October at the Deakin Edge Theatre, Federation Square. 
Find out more at:   

World Homelessness Day Summit
Service providers interested in housing and homelessness are invited to hear from speakers addressing housing issues relevant to our local community.    

Experts from the housing sector will share their insight into a range of programs and profile innovative practices and initiatives.  This event is free but spaces are limited so register now!
Register: here

Parity – Call for contributions
The March 2018 “The Future of Women’s Refuges” edition of Parity is now open for contributions. The central role and function of women’s refuges in meeting the crisis accommodation and support needs of women and children escaping domestic and family violence is at the heart of this edition of Parity; the fundamental question here being: What is the future for women’s refuges?
Contributions close 9 March 2018. Download the flyer here.  

View this edition’s full list of articles and contributors here. Subscribe to Parity here.

Youth Affairs Council Victoria Conference
YACVic’s 2017 conference, Front + Centre, will explore themes around the changing nature of youth work, the complexities of our practice and how we tell the compelling story of youth work and its positive impacts. Find program details here. Front + Centre will be held at the Pullman on the Park, Melbourne.
When: 18 – 20 October
Register: here

A gathering about homelessness
A gathering to discuss homelessness and, community solutions to homelessness will be held at Brunswick Town Hall, as part of Anti-poverty week 2017.

The event, A Home in Moreland? has been organized by Moreland City Council and the Moreland Homelessness Working group. The evening will involve in discussion; council staff, local service providers, people with a lived experience of homelessness and community members. Interested residents, business owners, and community leaders are warmly invited to come, connect and discuss community action to fight homelessness. 
When: 18 October
Register: here

ACOSS National Conference
The 2017 ACOSS National Conference, in partnership with VCOSS, is the event where community leaders, policy and decision makers, practitioners, academics and people with lived experience come together to collectively tackle the issues driving poverty and inequality in Australia. Leading thinkers and decision makers from the community, public, and private sectors will collaborate to identify challenges and workshop responses to move us towards a brighter and more equitable 2030.
When: 24-25 October
Register here

NDIS: Helping people with psychosocial disabilities navigate the scheme
The Mental Health Coordinating Council (MHCC) have launched a new website designed to help people living with a psychosocial disability to better understand and access the NDIS. 
The website has been co-designed by people with experience of living with psychosocial disabilities and with accessing the NDIS. It includes information and instructions on what support is available to people with mental health conditions, NDIS eligibility, and making applications. You can find the website here: 

16 days of activism against gender based violence
Family violence is a contributing cause to 42 per cent of homelessness experienced by women.  Nearly two thirds of homelessness is experienced by women.  Homelessness is a gendered issue and attitudes to towards women are a major driver.
CHP is supporting the 16 days of activism running from 25 November to 10 December.  You can learn about last year’s 16 days of activism here and we’ll keep you up to date with new resources for 2017 as they become available.

Department of Health and Human Services Update
The DHHS Human Services and Health Partnership Implementation Committee meeting’s September report is now available. The report contains a summary of the key projects currently being undertaken by the Department of Health and Human Services.
It includes information on recent initiatives on housing and homelessness such as the Towards Home program and Social Impact Bonds pilot. 

Read the report here

Be in the know on social
Are you a CHP member, or just want to link-in with like-minded tweeters? Follow our curated CHP members and networks Twitter list here to be up to date on what the homeless and housing sector is talking about. 


Face-to-Face Ice Training
Free training is now available for all Victorians who come into contact with ice-affected people as part of their job.

360Edge, consultants in alcohol and other drug responses, will deliver half day face to face workshops to frontline workers across Victoria as part of the Victorian Government’s $45.5 million ice action plan ‘Taking action, Stopping ice.’ The training will roll out in multiple locations across the State over the next three years. New training sessions will be added to our booking platform regularly.
To see all sessions available and to register, visit:
Download the flyer

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