Multi-million Dollar Plan to Tackle Homelessness
14 January 2014 at 11:00 am
A Victorian homelessness peak body has called for the State Government to invest $54 million over four years to get rough sleepers off the street.
In its pre-Budget submission, the Council to Homeless Persons has called on the Government to make a four-year investment to house 400 rough sleepers in Victoria (according to the 2011 Census there were 1,092 rough sleepers in Victoria).
By 2024 the Council says the plan could provide a permanent home to all rough sleepers in Victoria at a cost of $143 million.
It says that half of the properties would be drawn from an existing pool of Transitional Housing that is currently used for short-term accommodation, and half would be new buildings.
The submission also calls for the Government to fund a Permanent Supportive Housing program with 100 new properties per year targeted at people who have been homeless long term.
According to CHP, the Permanent Supportive Housing model has been successfully used in New York and Canada where more than 75 per cent of rough sleeping participants remained in these housing and support programs after 12-24 months.
“Creating homes for rough sleepers is part of the solution, and the key to success is to embed support services that get to the cause homelessness,” Jenny Smith, CEO of the Council to Homeless Persons, said.
CHP said that under the Permanent Supportive Housing model, tenants pay rent based on their income, and were provided drug and alcohol, health services and mental health services as needed, as well as help to reconnect with family, friends and community activities.
The announcement comes after the recent tragedy where a homeless man sleeping rough in the Melbourne CBD was stabbed.
“This kind of investment could not only help prevent tragic events like Mousey’s death in the future, it will improve the lives of hundreds of people currently sleeping rough,” Smith said.
“Helping people get off the street will generate savings for the government as it reduces that demand on health, justice and other mainstream services.”
CHP said homelessness was not just sleeping rough; it included young people couchsurfing, families staying temporarily in motels and unsafe boarding houses with nowhere else to go and women and children fleeing family violence.
In the 2014-15 budget submission CHP is calling on the State Government to invest $216 million over four years in programs that:
- Provide streamlined access to make sure people can find the assistance they need, when they need it = $7.2 million
Target prevention to stop people losing their homes and guarantee housing for 400 new young people leaving out of home care every year = $29 million
Assist 5,287 people a year in crisis accommodation, staying temporarily with other households and other temporary accommodation to get back into housing fast and build the supports they need to remain housed = $118.4 million
Deliver permanent supportive housing to secure long term affordable housing for people who have experienced long-term homelessness = $54.4 million
Make sure mainstream services can to help prevent homelessness for occurring and recurring = $7.2million
Manager of the Salvation Army’s Victoria Social Programme and Policy Unit, Captain Jason Davies-Kildea, praised the ambition of the plan.
“There’s no great mystery around what’s needed,” Davies-Kildea said.
“However homelessness and rough sleeping are complex issues.”
He said he was pleased the submission not only aimed to get people off the streets but aimed to provide those people the support they needed to stay off the streets.
“People know that it’s a critical issue and Australians don’t want to live in a country where there’s a prevalence of homelessness,” he said.
“I get a sense from people in the community that when we can do better we should be doing better.”