Victoria’s housing crisis is putting increasing pressure on women and children fleeing family violence, with accommodation now harder to find than six years ago.
Council to Homeless Persons analysis has revealed the alarming decline in the availability of housing for women and children fleeing domestic abuse.
Between 2015 and 2021, the number of households attending homelessness services while affected by family violence, but unable to be provided with required long-term housing, has risen 135 per cent.
Department of Families, Fairness and Housing data shows in June 2015 there were 690 households in that category. That figure rose to 1,628 households in June last year.
The housing that is needed is not able to be provided for nearly four in five victim-survivor households.
The proportion of victim-survivors who are unable to be provided with the long-term housing they need is also growing. In July 2015, 68 per cent of households who needed long-term housing missed out. By June 2021, 78 per cent missed out.
The unfolding crisis has sparked this call to all Victorian political parties, to commit to a housing guarantee for women and children fleeing violence ahead of the November 26 state election.
A housing guarantee would include both a substantial increase in social housing for those who need it most, as well as facilitated private rental access and private rental subsidies for families who lose their home through family violence.
It forms a cornerstone of the Council’s Victorian Election Platform, which will be launched on Friday.
CHP Chief Executive Officer Jenny Smith called on both major parties to adopt the guarantee. “Women and children fleeing family violence are facing the impossible choice of being pushed into homelessness or returning to abusive situations,” she said.
“The fact that this problem is getting worse, is simply unacceptable more than six years after the historic Royal Commission into Family Violence.
“Between now and when voters go to the polls, on average 4 women in Victoria will be killed by their partners.
“Guaranteeing long-term housing for women and children escaping these desperate situations, is absolutely critical to keeping people safe from the scourge of violence.
“Victoria’s political leaders have the power to end homelessness and protect vulnerable women and children.
“Locking in long-term investment in social housing and support services, should have bipartisan commitment. The solutions are within reach, we just need governments to take the steps outlined in CHP’s 2022 Victorian Election Platform.”
The platform sets out clear actions to end homelessness.
While the Victorian Government’s Big Build promises 12,000 social and affordable housing properties over four years, the state needs an ongoing and bigger investment to address the crisis.
“With rental prices skyrocketing and tenancy vacancy rates incredibly low, Victoria needs 6,000 social housing properties built each year for the next 10 years,” Ms Smith said.
“More people are being pushed into homelessness, with demand from support services skyrocketing.
“These crucial programs urgently need investment to meet the needs of thousands of Victorians.”
Safe and Equal Acting chief executive officer Louise Simms threw her support behind the housing guarantee.
“A lack of safe and affordable housing is putting enormous pressure on victim-survivors,” she said “A housing guarantee which includes a major investment in social housing is key to addressing this crucial issue.”