Council to Homeless Persons / Community Housing Industry Association Victoria
With less than three weeks until Victorian Election Day, the state’s housing crisis has emerged as a key issue for voters with leading politicians set to reveal their stance on critical policy issues.
Soaring rents, plunging vacancy rates and a lack of adequate policies for the future are threatening to push increasing numbers of people into homelessness.
The Council to Homeless Persons (CHP) has launched a fresh push for all political parties to back the 27 recommendations in A Plan to End Homelessness In Victoria.
Housing Minister Danny Pearson, Opposition Housing Spokesperson Richard Riordan and Greens Leader Samantha Ratnam will participate in a housing and homelessness panel discussion in Melbourne on Wednesday November 9.
The latest weekly SQM Research data shows Melbourne’s median rent is $511 a week, representing a 22.6 per cent increase over the past 12 months.
In the year to June, regional rents rose 8.9 per cent to $395. There are more than 64,000 households on the social housing waiting list statewide.
Vacancy rates have become impossibly low in regional Victoria (2.1 per cent) and Melbourne (3.6 per cent).
“As we enter the home stretch in this election campaign, all parties need to back greater investment in social housing and homelessness support services,” CHP Chief Executive Officer Jenny Smith.
“With political will we can end homeless in Victoria.
“The housing crisis is getting worse. More people are being pushed into homelessness and services are under enormous pressure.
“A commitment to build 6000 social and affordable homes each year for a decade will tackle the extreme shortfalls that are affecting families across the state.
Community Housing Association Victoria (CHIA Vic) Acting CEO Jason Perdriau said the panel discussion would be a fantastic opportunity for potential governments to outline their vision of housing policy into the future.
“Victoria has the lowest percentage of social housing in the country at less than 3% of our total housing stock. When the Big Housing Build ends social housing will make up around 3.5% of housing stock, and still be lagging behind the national average of 4.2%. We need a plan now to start investing in this essential social infrastructure Beyond the Big Housing Build,” he said.
“The Big Housing Build is a historic investment in social housing, the biggest by a state government ever, but it has to be the start, not the end of Victoria’s investment in social housing. That’s why it’s so important we hear solid commitments from all parties on Wednesday.”
Ms Smith said CHP was also calling for a range of other important commitments.
“Victoria also needs to extend the world-leading From Homelessness to a Home program that gives rough sleepers somewhere to live alongside wraparound support,” she said.
“And there needs to be targeted action in housing our most vulnerable people with a housing guarantee for victim-survivors of family violence, more Indigenous housing and an increased focus on youth homelessness.
“Let’s make the 2022 poll a watershed moment for housing. The next government needs to recognise the crisis and take decisive action to end homelessness.”
The CHP plan recommends the Victorian Government should:
- Build 6,000 social housing properties per year for ten years by ensuring that a share of all new housing developments is social housing, as well as providing continued Government investment
- Deliver 5,000 social housing properties over four years for young people, and support for the young people living in them
- Deliver 600 new social housing properties to Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations each year and develop a plan to ensure that social housing access for Aboriginal people keeps pace with population growth
- Extend the From Homelessness to a Home and Homes for Families programs to provide ongoing capacity to deliver 2,000 Housing First packages, providing housing and support
- Deliver the social housing that is needed for women and children and young people experiencing family violence and provide a housing guarantee to victim survivors of family violence
CHIA Vic’s 2022 election platform Beyond The Big Housing Build calls for an investment fund to help provide a clear, long-term funding pipeline for growing social housing over the next ten years, as well as:
- Giving councils the ability to require developers to make contributions to social and affordable housing when issuing planning permits
- Creating a legacy of diverse housing developments at the four Commonwealth Games Athletes’ Villages and auditing under-utilised government-owned land to improve housing affordability in regional Victoria