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Desperate Need for More Social Housing, New Data Shows


Almost a quarter of Victorians experiencing homelessness are doing so long-term, according to new data.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s Specialist Homelessness Services report revealed 22.5% of people who received homelessness services in 2018/19 also did so within two years before and after accessing support.

Council to Homeless Persons Chief Executive Officer Deborah Di Natale said it was clear a greater investment in social housing was needed to address the situation.

“Having a large cohort of people experiencing homelessness long-term sends a clear message that there is simply not enough social housing in Victoria,” Ms Di Natale said.

“The scale of the housing and homelessness crisis is enormous but not insurmountable.

“Building 6000 social housing properties each year for a decade will put us within touching distance of ending homelessness.

“The Victorian Government’s Big Housing Build will deliver welcome social housing but it’s clear we cannot afford to stop there.

“It’s time for a major commitment for when that funding runs out [DP1] given the spiralling crisis which is unfolding.”

The data showed that 18,074 Victorians experienced homelessness over the long term. In comparison, just 3313 people were allocated social housing in 2018/19.

There were 31,660 people – or 39.4% of the 80,361 involved in the AIHW study – in need of long-term housing.

In 2018/19, 58% of people who experienced homelessness did so for more than three months.

The AIHW’s longitudinal analysis is not directly comparable with the institute’s other studies because it is the first to look at the two years before and after a person has received homelessness services.

Nearly two-thirds of people who received specialist homelessness services in 2018/19 were women, more than 10% were Indigenous and nearly 40% had mental health issues.

“It’s so crucial that we never lose sight of how important it is to have programs that support the people in our community with the greatest vulnerability,” Ms Di Natale said.

“Targeted measures including wraparound support are key to addressing homelessness.

“The housing crisis will simply not go away. Decisive action will have incredible economic and social benefits for Victoria.”

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