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Highly successful homelessness program on budget chopping block


The Victorian Government is being urged to invest $47.5 million in the upcoming State Budget to prevent a critical homelessness program from being gutted.

Council to Homeless Persons’ State Budget Submission, officially released on Tuesday, calls for a modest contribution for the From Homelessness to a Home (H2H) program. 

H2H ends long term rough sleeping and homelessness, most importantly saving lives – but also  reducing other human services’ expenditure in justice, mental health and health.

A further $224.4 million over the next four years would guarantee H2H and Homes For Families continue their incredible track record of supporting around 2000 households.

That investment would allow the program to be expanded to 2400 households. 

H2H provides rough sleepers and people experiencing chronic homelessness stable housing with wraparound support including counselling, mental health, case management, housing workers, and healthcare services.

But its future is in jeopardy, with its funding not guaranteed beyond June 30.

That’s despite its capacity to deliver an almost 90 per cent sustainment rate seen in other programs which also use the world-leading Housing First model. For the cohort H2H engages with, there is usually a sustainment rate under 50 per cent.

“It’s absolutely crucial that this program continues. The results of H2H are truly remarkable,” Council to Homeless Persons Chief Executive Jenny Smith said.

“Given the results, we need a relatively modest investment of just $47.5 million to continue H2H’s work next year, and $224.4 million over four years to continue and extend its fabulous outcomes.

“This cutting-edge program delivers so much more than just a roof over people’s heads. H2H gives people the wraparound support they need to stay housed.”

The Productivity Commission’s latest Report on Government Services Housing and Homelessness underscored the importance of continuing initiatives like H2H.

In 2021/22, Victoria (13.4%) was above the national average (12.2%) for people returning to homelessness after finding a home.

“There are people in this program who have spent years sleeping rough or grappling with long term homelessness,” Ms Smith said.

“We’ve seen people’s lives turned around because of this program. Improved mental health, produced better employment outcomes and kept families together .

“One of the important principles of the world-leading Housing First model H2H adopts is around locking in certainty for people. That’s why at least a medium-term commitment over four years is really important.

“We’ve seen it through Journey to Social Inclusion – a small scale program using the same Housing First principles as H2H. Over a decade, sustained investment has delivered results that benefit not only the people involved, but the budget bottom line and taxpayers.”

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