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The Victorian Government has set out to tackle homelessness

2 January 2017

With over 20 000 Victorians facing homelessness every night, the Andrews government recently released A Better Place: Victorian Homelessness 2020 Strategy.

Homeless occurs for a range of reasons from ill health, unemployment, addiction or domestic violence. Despite a notable presence of school-aged people in the homeless population, homelessness affects people of all ages, and must be managed systematically to ensure that those who are at risk can receive the best support they can to ensure stable accommodation. The 2020 Strategy ties in with the broader Victorian government plan to address disadvantage, reduce inequality and achieve social inclusion. Homelessness has increased by 20.7% in Victoria since 2006.

State government funding has already seen considerable investments in early childhood development, family violence, mental health, disability services, housing, and community development, whilst ensuring a tailored approach to supporting those belonging to disadvantaged groups. This have been supported by a whole-of-government approach, with homelessness being recognised in key policy areas including education, mental health, justice, and disability. In addition, funding has been employed to ensure housing availability, affordability, and early intervention for those most at risk. The key aims for the strategy, in partnership with the Commonwealth government, are:

  • 7 per cent decrease in the number of Australians who are homeless
  • a 25 per cent reduction in the number of Australians sleeping rough
  • a reduction by a third in Indigenous homelessness across Australia
  • a 25 per cent reduction in the number of Australians leading social housing and private rental to homelessness
  • a 25 per cent reduction in three repeat periods of homelessness at an emergency service in 12 months

Why is a solution for homelessness important?

Homelessness is the result of structural inequalities and a lack of resources which leave individuals at risk, and is predominantly associated with urban areas. Stable accommodation is widely recognised as one of our basic needs and is a common result of poverty or a lack of access to necessary support. A lack of stability compromises personal safety, and can be detrimental to health. A fixed address (and good health!) is often necessary for employment and is a pre-requisite to receiving government support.

When someones basic need for secure and stable housing is met, they are empowered to address other challenges that contribute to homelessness such as the need for employable skills, addressing both physical and mental health issues, and violence.

A plan to tackle homelessness is a crucial to security sustainable development and to ensure that here in Australia, everyone is able to live with dignity and no one is left behind.

To read the strategy, click here. Co-written with Brooke McCormick.

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