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3rd June 2019     COURTNEY HERRON WAS NOT A STATISTIC, BUT A PERSON
by Melanie Raymond in The Age

Young people represent roughly half of all people facing homelessness in Australia. Courtney Herron, at 25, was one of them. Courtney, the young woman found dead in Royal Park on Saturday morning, was not a statistic, but a person, described with affection and love.

The average person seeking assistance for homelessness is most likely to be a 25- to 34-year-old woman, often with children in tow, and often escaping family violence.

But when they do seek help, it doesn’t happen. Every night half of all women across Australia who seek a bed in a crisis shelter are turned away from services, such is the crisis in housing. More than 80,000 Victorians are on the social housing waiting list.

Women who are sleeping rough face impossible choices. Fleeing conflict and abuse at home, they again face the risk of assault on the street or in the substandard and violent rooming houses and emergency accommodation to which they may be sent. The harsh experience of such places and low prospects of being offered secure housing means some believe the street is the safer option. Forming a new relationship on the street can mean they are protected from other men, but the man they are with can also be abusive and controlling.

Locking young people out of both affordable rent and the hope of home ownership, maintaining starvation-level Newstart payments, alongside a limited job market and access to jobs for youth in our poorer outer suburbs will continue to leave young people highly vulnerable to homelessness and related problems. Tonight the safety of thousands of Australians who are homeless will remain at risk while trying to sleep in the cold and just make it safely through another night.

Click here for the full article.  more

2nd June 2019     NDIS AND HOMELESSNESS PRACTICE GUIDELINES
by DHHS

In response to the roll out of the NDIS in Victoria, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has developed practice guidelines for specialist homelessness services to assist them in working with current or prospective NDIS participants who may be at risk of, or experiencing homelessness.

The practice guidelines outline the roles and responsibilities of homelessness services whose clients are either current or prospective NDIS participants. The guidelines were developed in consultation with the homelessness sector, NDIS providers and NDIA.

A copy of the practice guidelines is attached and will also be available via the DHHS Service Providers website:https://providers.dhhs.vic.gov.au/practice-guidelines-ndis-and-mainstream-services

The department is currently working on a one-page summary document of the guidelines which can be used as a quick reference guide for homelessness services. 

If you have any queries in relation to these practice guidelines, please contact Brittany Clark, Project Officer on 9096 1089 or brittany.clark@dhhs.vic.gov.au.

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2nd June 2019     'I'M NOT LIVING, I'M EXISTING': NO EASY FIX FOR ROOMING HOUSES
by Miki Perkins in The Age

Barry’s* life wasn’t always like this. He worked for years in a well-paid role as an account manager with Telstra and had a mortgage on the house where he lived.

But when he was “restructured” out of a job Barry couldn’t meet his mortgage repayments and life has felt like a downhill slide ever since. The bank foreclosed on his house, he moved from one crummy private rental to the next and ended up sleeping on a bench on Swanston Street.

Now Barry's home is a tiny room - one of 14 -  at the rear of a dilapidated weatherboard rooming house in Melbourne's north. His possessions are stacked so high it’s difficult to get through the door. The roof leaks over his bed and the lock is broken.

The house's volatile and intimidating landlord has made Barry’s life a misery - including throwing his possessions into a skip and assaulting him - and for all of this, Barry pays $200 a week in rent.

Three years ago the government introduced minimum standards in rooming houses, including that operators must apply for a licence and follow standards of hygiene, safety and security.

But the reality is that many remain decrepit and hazardous environments that damage the physical and mental health of the residents.

Click here for the full article.  more

17th April 2019     VICTORIAN HOMELESSNESS MEDIA AWARDS - APPLICATIONS OPEN 22 APRIL 2019!
by Council to Homeless Persons (CHP)

Stories told by writers and reporters are vital in changing perceptions of homelessness, and enhancing understanding of the causes and solutions.

The Victorian Homelessness Media Awards recognise and encourage outstanding, responsive and respectful reporting in relation to homelessness.

Stories published or broadcast during the 2018-19 period are eligible for entry. Applicants have the chance to share in a $6500 prize pool.

Entries will be judged on their originality, the quality of journalism, ethical and respectful portrayals of people experiencing homelessness, the ability to enhance understanding of the structural causes of homelessness and, if relevant, the solutions. Judges will also be interested in examination of how homelessness intersects with other social issues such as gender, mental health, affordable housing, the justice system and family violence.

Click here for more information: www.chp.org.au/media-awards more

30th March 2019     "APPALLING, EXTREMELY UNSAFE' MOTELS POCKET MILLIONS FROM HOMELESS, FAMILY VIOLENCE VICTIMS
by James Hancock, ABC News

Women and children fleeing family violence are being sent to filthy and unsafe motels because of a severe shortage in emergency accommodation, according to an alarming new report.

The "Crisis In Crisis" report by North and West Homelessness Networks found millions of taxpayer dollars are being paid each year to so-called "slum landlords" running the budget motels.

The problem is not unique to Victoria, however, with Australian Institute of Health and Welfare data showing 11,600 Australians who sought emergency accommodation in 2016-17 ending up in motels and rooming houses.

Click here for the full report: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-02-15/family-violence-victims-sent-to-unsafe-motels-in-housing-crisis/10793992 more

30th March 2019     NO MORE REFERRALS TO DODGY CRISIS HOUSING, WARN HOMELESSNESS SERVICES
by Miki Perkins in The Age

Miki Perkins reports on the launch of the Northern and Western Homelessness Networks' report, Crisis in Crisis:

Services were “drawing a line in the sand”, said Zoe Vale, a representative of the North and Western Homelessness Networks, and a senior manager in the homelessness sector.

“Yes, there is a risk that we would be turning people away without assistance, which is not something we do lightly,” Ms Vale said. “[But] we’re not funded to create harm, we’re funded to help people. What we’re saying is that we need to stop doing this."

or the first time, these services have revealed the financial cost to taxpayers of putting vulnerable people in substandard crisis accommodation.

More than $2.5 million in public funds was spent by services in Melbourne’s north and west to house 9000 households in substandard temporary accommodation last year, according to the report. This was a 500 per cent increase since 2011.

Across Victoria, there are only 423 government-funded crisis beds. To make up the significant shortfall in accommodation, homelessness services are forced to purchase rooms in low-end hotels and private room houses. more

30th March 2019     PRACTICE GUIDE: CREATING POSITIVE SOCIAL CLIMATES AND HOME-LIKE ENVIRONMENTS IN THERAPEUTIC CARE.
by Centre for Excellence in Therapeutic Care

This new Practice Guide Creating identifies strategies for creating positive social climates and  home-like environments in therapeutic care for children and young people. more

30th March 2019     GREENLIGHT SUPPORTIVE HOUSING PROGRAM
by Greenlight Partnership

GreenLight Supportive Housing Program,  is a new 2 year state funded initiative, assisting people transitioning from homelessness to long-term housing in the City of Melbourne, City of Yarra and City of Port Philip (either residing in, or having links to services in this area).

People can also be referred by housing providers where the person is in appropriate housing, their tenancy is less than 12 months and tenancy risks have been identified. The GreenLight Housing Support Program prioritises tenancy advocacy and care coordination/collaboration.

Greenlight believe that this approach to housing settlement support will lead to greater outcomes for the people we work alongside. Please see attached brochures for further information about the program, support available and agencies delivering GreenLight support.

Please note that GreenLight will only take on referrals when there is an identified long-term housing option that has been offered and accepted by the client. more

24th January 2019     HOUSING AFFORDABILITY IN VICTORIA
by Dr Kate Raynor for the Parliament of Victoria

This paper has been produced for the Parliament of Victoria to outline the impact of a changing housing market is impacting on the way Victorians live. 

This paper provides insights into housing affordability and housing stress in Australia, and specifically in Victoria, over the last decade.

In particular:

  • Victoria's population is growing rapidly and is increasingly urbanised;
  • More people are renting;
  • Fewer young people are entering home ownership and they are doing it later;
  • Housing is becoming more unaffordable; and
  • More people are experiencing housing stress and taking on greater debt burdens.
more

24th January 2019     HOARDING AND SQUALOR RESOURCES
by Maroondah Hoarding and Squalor Network

Below is a link to a hoarding and squalor resource put together by Maroondah Hoarding and Squalor Network. Their website, while focused on services in the east, has some useful information and links as well:
http://www.hoardingsqualormaroondah.org.au/ more

5th November 2018     NEW HOMELESSNESS FACT SHEETS
by Council to Homeless Persons (CHP)

What are the leading causes of homelessness in Australia?
How much has homelessness among over 55's grown in a decade?
What's the most common type of homelessness?


CHP has updated homelessness fact sheets available, incorporating the latest data from the 2016 Census and the AIHW SHS Collection. 

Get them here:
Homelessness in Australia
Homelessness in Victoria
Homelessness and Older Australians 

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11th October 2018     SHADOW FEDERAL MINISTER FOR HOUSING PROMOTES INCLUSIONARY ZONING
by Western Homelessness Networker

Senator the Hon Doug Cameron, Shadow Minister for Housing, outlined yesterday Labor's housing policy for the forthcoming Federal election. Senator Cameron was speaking at a consulation on women, housing and homelessness, organised by Ged Kearney MP, Member for Cooper. 

Senator Cameron strongly endorsed the mandating of inclusionary zoning in new private developments, citing inclusionary zoning rates as high as 50% in London.  Senator Cameron also identified that the Labor Government will be focussing on the creation of housing options for older women and for young people leaving care. 

He also promoted an end to negative gearing and capital gains tax, a uniform vacancy tax, improved planning arrangements, support for the bond aggregator, with the additional of payments to address the gap between the development of community housing and the rent that someone in receipt of Centrelink payments can pay. 

Senator Cameron also identified that, if elected, the Labor Government would re-establish the Housing Supply Council and a National homelessness peak body.  more

11th October 2018     50 LIVES 50 HOMES HOUSING FIRST PROJECT
by Australian Policy Online

The 50 Lives 50 Homes project (hereafter referred to as 50 Lives) is a Housing First and collective impact response to ending homelessness in Perth, and the first of its kind in Western Australia. The project commenced in 2015 and takes a collaborative approach to house and provide support for Perth’s most vulnerable people experiencing homelessness.

This second evaluation report describes the progress to date of the 50 Lives project in relation to housing and supporting vulnerable rough sleepers.

Click here for a link to the article and report more

8th August 2018     HOMELESSNESS WEEK STALL IN NORTHERN HOSPITAL
by Northern Homelessness Networker

The DPV Health Homelessness Team, with support from Whittlesea Community Connections and Have Home Safe Preston, have run an information stall at Northern Hall all week.

The stall will be open until 4pm on Friday 9 August. more

1st December 2017     SUPPORT AND SAFETY HUBS STATEWIDE CONCEPT PAPER
by NIFVs

Support and Safety Hubs Statewide Concept Paper


The Statewide Concept for Support and Safety Hubs, was released  recently by the Victorian Government. The Concept outlines design features of the Hubs, including access pathways and key functions.

The next stage will be the development of the practice framework, operational model and management and government structures. These will be informed by statewide and local co-design.

 A local Hub establishment group will be developed in the coming month to establish a launch site in the North-East Melbourne area. more more

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