Family Violence Fuelling Homelessness
25 November 2014 at 11:01 am
Family violence forced more than 18,000 women into homelessness last year alone, according to peak body, the Council to Homeless Persons.
As part of White Ribbon Day the organisation called for more “rapid rehousing” programs to stop the trend of women escaping family violence into homeless.
CHP CEO Jenny Smith said last year more than 18,000 women presented at homelessness services in Victoria with family violence the main cause of their homelessness; representing more than a quarter of all clients.
“Family violence is the number one driver of homelessness because there are so few safe, affordable accommodation options for women who flee their home,” Smith said.
“An incredibly tight private rental market combined with an 11-month wait for public housing means that too many women end up in rooming houses, motels or sleeping in the back of their cars.”
CHP is proposing an investment of $118 million over four years in rapid rehousing programs that help people who are staying in temporary and crisis accommodation. The programs provide support, rent bonds and short-term rent subsidies.
“The investment we’re calling for would help over 5,000 people a year to get back into housing fast, preventing the lasting impacts of homelessness,” Smith said.
“We’ve seen a welcome focus on family violence this election, and now we want to see real efforts to tackle the lack of affordable housing as part of a big picture solution.
“It takes enormous strength to leave family violence, but when you know your only option is a rooming house, motel or crisis bed, it makes that decision even harder.”
Smith said less than three out of every 100 rentals in Melbourne would be affordable for a mother on single parenting payments, and the most recent public housing waiting list shows 34,600 people are waiting for public housing.