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Ministerial Homelessness Reform Advisory Group – Communique 1


Victoria’s new Ministerial Homelessness Reform Advisory Group (MHRAG) is an ongoing forum for the Specialist Homelessness Sector and people with lived experience of homelessness to collaborate with the Government to shape system reform, strengthen sector capacity and capability, and guide best practice evidence-based approaches to make homelessness rare, brief and non-recurring.

The MHRAG includes representation from metro and regional SHS organisations as well as the Homelessness Lived Experience Reference Group. It’s co-chaired by the Hon. Harriet Shing, Minister for Housing, and Council to Homeless Persons CEO Deborah Di Natale, and meets quarterly.

Following its first two meetings in December 2023 and March 2024, the MHRAG has released a Communique to update the sector on its work so far.

You can read the full Communique here.

December 2023 MHRAG – Setting up for success

The Communique states that the December 2023 meeting centred on laying the foundations for a homelessness service system to have maximum positive impact on the people it serves.

The current state of Victoria’s homelessness service system was also discussed – including investment, high-level trends in service usage and the important intersections with other service sectors.

March 2024 MHRAG – Timely, targeted and needs based support

At the March 2024 meeting, members presented case studies of client experiences with Victoria’s homelessness service system. This provided insights into what is working, challenges and opportunities for change.

Conversation highlighted the excellent work already being delivered by the sector, despite the current challenging economic climate. Members also recognised other challenges, including:

  • the impact of increasing pressures on entry points and crisis responses on clients receiving services and staff
  • how to ensure the system can support the independent and unique needs of children, while simultaneously serving the family unit
  • the shortage of housing supply and the direct impact on homelessness
  • the long-wait times experienced by clients, impacting how staff can best help people needing support, especially crisis support, and
  • how to enable collaboration with other service systems, such as the education, health systems and family violence systems.

The group agreed to three streams of support to guide future discussions on improvements to the homelessness service system:

  • early responses for at-risk people who may still be housed in private rental or living in home ownership, or people who experience homelessness early in life;
  • targeted and specialist responses for people who are, or are at risk of homelessness and who need support to address current challenges and build skills and capacity gain independence; and
  • intensive responses for people experiencing chronic homelessness and rough sleeping to access a stable home and get the range of health and social supports they need to maintain their home.
Next meeting: June

At the June MHRAG meeting, members will consider options for how to improve homelessness accommodation and supports.

Read the full Communique.

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