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Homelessness Costing $22,000 Per Family


18 November 2014 at 10:23 am
Xavier Smerdon
A Melbourne community housing Not for Profit says it costs $22,000 in State and Federal Government housing supports for every household requiring assistance after being squeezed out of the private rental system.

Xavier Smerdon | 18 November 2014 at 10:23 am


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Homelessness Costing $22,000 Per Family
18 November 2014 at 10:23 am

A Melbourne community housing Not for Profit says it costs $22,000 in State and Federal Government housing supports for every household requiring assistance after being squeezed out of the private rental system.

Yarra Community Housing – a provider of subsidised accommodation and housing support services to vulnerable people in Melbourne and Geelong – said the figure demonstrated the enormous cost to the community of a lack of investment in affordable housing.

CEO of Yarra Community Housing, Rob Leslie, said his organisation had seen an explosion in demand for its services.

With the Victorian election just days away the organisation is calling on greater funding commitments from both sides of politics.

“Melbourne’s private rental market has become completely unaffordable for people on low incomes, who are increasingly turning to services like ours for support. In the last financial year, requests for crisis accommodation to our service went up by 23 per cent,” Leslie, said.

“Each night, some 22,000 Victorians experience homelessness, and the problem is often hidden – you are also homeless if you are couch-surfing, or sleeping in cars or overcrowded accommodation.

“The 1 in 7 Victorians today who can’t afford their housing costs are at risk of being included in the homelessness statistics, and requiring ongoing housing supports.”

Leslie said housing stress was particularly acute in the outer suburbs. The municipality of Wyndham, for example, now has the highest eviction rate in Victoria – with one family being evicted in the area every day.

“While the problems are severe and growing, there is a solution: a commitment from the major political parties to increase the supply of affordable housing. Victoria has the lowest proportion of social (subsidised) housing in the country, and an urgent investment in the construction of new affordable housing is required,” he said.

“Given the high rates of homelessness and housing stress in Victoria, an investment of $200 million a year in new affordable dwellings makes far more sense than providing housing supports to the growing number of people in a crisis housing situation.”

Yarra Community Housing is part of a coalition of housing and welfare bodies in Victoria seeking a commitment of $200 million per year over the next 20 years to increase the supply of public and community housing in Victoria.

The organisation has also called on the Victorian Government to immediately restore funding recently cut from the Private Rental Brokerage Program in Melbourne’s West.

YCH estimated that it cost $22,000 in housing supports to those falling out of the private rental system, which consists of:

  •       Supports through the Initial Assessment and Planning and the Housing Establishment Fund programs.

  •       The cost of providing transitional housing for an average period.

  •       State government rental subsidy for the transitional housing management property.

  •       Agency support services

Xavier Smerdon  |  Journalist  |  @XavierSmerdon

Xavier Smerdon is a journalist specialising in the Not for Profit sector. He writes breaking and investigative news articles.

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