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14th October 2019     VICTORIAN HOMELESSNESS CONFERENCE
by Council to Homeless Persons (CHP)

The Council to Homeless Persons and Family Reconciliation and Mediation Program are hosting the Victorian Homelessness Conference:

When: 14th and 15th October

Where: Melbourne Exhibition Centre, 2 Clarendon Street, South Wharf 

Register: https://chpconference.com.au/register

Early bird registration closes: 7 July 2019 more

27th August 2019     NATIONAL HOUSING CONFERENCE
by AHURI

That National Housing Conference is to be held from 27-30 August 2019 in Darwin.  For more information, click here: https://www.nhc.edu.aumore

20th June 2019     LGBTIQ+ NORTHERN NETWORK MEETING SCHEDULE 2019
by VincentCare Victoria

VincentCare has offered to host a LGBTIQ+ Northern Network. The aim of the network is to provide an opportunity for mainstream community agencies & LGBTIQ specific agencies in the Northern metropolitan region to meet and share information specific to the needs of LGBTIQ young adults, adults and families, including families of choice.

Location: VincentCare Northern Community Hub, 175 Glenroy Road, Glenroy

Time: 2.00-4.00pm

Thursday 20th June

Thursday 19th September

Thursday 5th December

more

4th June 2019     SASHS OPEN HOUSE
by SASHS Network

SASHS, which incorporates the homelessness access point for Brimbank and Melton and a range of homelessness support programs, hosts an Open House Orientation on the first Tuesday of each month from 10 am – 11.30 pm. The Open House Orientations provide information on the broad range of programs delivered across the SASHS Network.

The Open House Orientations are intended for:
• New and existing workers
• Students

The Open House Orientation includes the following:
• An overview of each program delivered at SASHS
• Program Resources
• Opportunities to ask questions
• Agency information sharing
• Morning tea

SASHS Open House dates for 2019:
• Tuesday 4th June 2019
• Tuesday 2nd July 2019
• Tuesday 6th August 2019
• Tuesday 3rd September2019
• Tuesday 1st October 2019
• Tuesday 12th November 2019 (5th November is Melbourne Cup Day)
• Tuesday 3rd December 2019

To reserve a place email Keith at: keith.hunte@aus.salvationarmy.org  If you require any additional information please contact Keith Hunte on 9312 5799/0408 056 695. more

3rd June 2019     MISSION AUSTRALIA SURVEY
by Western Homelessness Networker

The Mission Australia Survey 2019 is open until 31st July. If homelessness surveys in Melbourne's North and West can ask 100 young people who are completing the survey to use a unique identifier (75508) then Mission Australia will provide a report just on those responses. Attached is a copy of the survey with the unique identifier already included. 

The Mission Australia Youth Survey is Australia’s largest online youth survey, providing a platform for young people aged 15 to 19 to ‘speak up’ about the issues that really concern them.

Each year, the Youth Survey gives valuable insights into the lives of young Australians and an understanding of their aspirations, values, concerns and ambitions. The survey provides a snapshot of how young people feel about their own lives and broader national issues.

If you would like any support from Mission Australia or have questions about the process, please get in touch with us atyouthsurvey@missionaustralia.com.au. more

3rd June 2019     HAVE YOUR SAY ON CARAVAN PARK REGULATIONS
by Victorian Government

Victorians will help shape future caravan park regulations, with consultation now open to ensure the industry operates effectively into the future.

Caravan parks are popular holiday destinations, while also providing options for affordable housing and retirement living.

The regulations under review set out requirements for caravan parks and movable dwellings on topics including health and wellbeing, fire safety and emergency management, registration and construction standards.

The Andrews Labor Government is reviewing these regulations, which expire in 2020, to assess how well they are working and make any necessary changes. The review process will run throughout 2019 and early 2020 with the new Regulations to take effect by June 2020. Consultation with stakeholders from across the sector is an important part of this process.

A consultation paper is now available: engage.vic.gov.au/caravan-parks-regulations-sunset-review  Submissions are due by 23 June 2019.  more

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

3rd June 2019     100 NEW HOMES FOR WOMEN
by Women's Property Initiative

ONE HUNDRED new homes for women will be available very soon in Moonee Ponds, Ivanhoe, Docklands, Bundoora, Maribyrnong and Werribee.

Women's Property Initiative has a new project happening and are looking for 50 employed single women, 20 employed women with one dependent and 30 VHR priority eligible women to house

Who  can apply?

Thirty homes are aimed at women who are on the Victorian Housing Register (VHR) Priority Access List.  (income below $567 p/w and assets below $13,064). Seventy homes are for those who have more income and who are in the Register of Interest category of the VHR (earning up to $1,014 p/w with assets below $33,051). Income limits are higher for couples and for those with dependents. Asset limits are higher for those who require major home modifications due to their disability. For more information go to https://housing.vic.gov.au/victorian-housing-register or check out the Victorian Housing Register Guide – attached.

Click on 'more' for further information.  more

2nd June 2019     WINTRINGHAM BUS TOURS
by Wintringham

Wintringham is providng a half day outing with FREE lunch and a recreational activity, including a brief facilitated tour of possible housing options in the area to be visited. Accommodation may be Wintringham housing stock, or other accommodation providers.

The bus tour is targetted to over 50’s, experiencing homelessness/ or risk of homelessness within the City of Melbourne catchment. The idea is to gauge the interest of seniors experiencing homelessness, in housing options outside the CBD and inner city.

The April and May bus tours went very well. See the attached brochure about the June and July bus tours. 

For more information contact: Mary-Jo Anagnos, Housing Support and Outreach Worker on 9375 3774 or at Maryjoanagnos@wintringham.org.au. more

2nd June 2019     MORE NEEDS TO BE DONE FOR HOMELESS
by The Age

It’s simply not acceptable that homelessness is rising in a nation so prosperous. We don’t lack the wealth. We know which policies work best to simultaneously deal with homelessness and some of its key causes – particularly mental illness, family violence and substance misuse.

We know from international experience that the most cost-effective way to solve homelessness is to give the chronically homeless a home. We see the daily evidence of the suffering and despair caused by having no safe place to live. We know that this is not an abstract reality – these are people in our communities, families and localities.

The federal government made headway 10 years ago, fuelled by the $6.1 billion worth of affordable housing built as part of the economic stimulus under Kevin Rudd. Thousands of community housing units came on the market – but then the funding dried up, even as the demand escalated.

In the past 15 years, the proportion of homeless people living in capital cities has surged from 48 per cent to 63 per cent, according to analysis for the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute.

Click here for the full article: https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/more-needs-to-be-done-for-homeless-20190531-p51td0.html more

2nd June 2019     HOUSING WORKFORCE SCHOLARSHIPS
by DHHS

The Department of Health and Human Services is pleased to advise that online applications for the 2020 program open on Tuesday 25 June 2019, via https://dhhs.vic.gov.au/workforce-scholarship-and-ethel-temby-research-grant-program

This is a wonderful opportunity for Housing staff and we encourage you to promote the program by distributing the attached handouts through your own networks, and at forums/meetings.

Prior to online applications opening on Tuesday 25 June 2019, we recommend that applicants commence research with their preferred Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) or Universities, to obtain quotes for course fees to undertake study in 2020. As well as start conversations with their relevant manager, regarding their interest in applying.

A housing workforce scholarship provides financial assistance to undertake study in an undergraduate or postgraduate course, or a course that leads to a qualification. It covers course fees only.

For staff wanting to undertake further study in housing specific courses, Swinburne are offering the Certificate IV in Social Housing, Diploma of Community Services and Graduate Certificate of Social Science (Housing Management and Policy).  See attached flyer for more information.

If you have any queries regarding the program, or the online application process, please email workforce.scholarships@dhhs.vic.gov.au, or phone 9096 2623 (Tuesday to Friday) or 9096 5760 (Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday). 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.

. more

2nd June 2019     NEW ZEALAND WELLBEING BUDGET PROMISES BILLIONS TO CARE FOR MOST VULNERABLE
by Eleanor Ainge Roy in The Guardian

Widespread praise for ‘world-first’ budget tackling mental illness, family violence and child poverty.

New Zealand’s Labour coalition government has unveiled its “world-first” wellbeing budget, to widespread praise from social agencies charged with looking after the country’s most vulnerable people.

The finance minister, Grant Robertson, unveiled billions for mental health services and child poverty as well as record investment in measures to tackle family violence.

lthough comparable countries such as the UK have begun to measure the national rate of wellbeing, New Zealand is the first western country to design its entire budget based on wellbeing priorities and instruct its ministries to design policies to improve wellbeing.

Click here for a link to the full article: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/may/30/new-zealand-wellbeing-budget-jacinda-ardern-unveils-billions-to-care-for-most-vulnerable more

2nd June 2019     WE ARE DOING WHAT WE CAN FOR THE HOMELESS, BUT THERE ARE NO QUICK FIXES
by Sally Capp, Lord Mayor in The Age

We have all been shaken by the senseless death of a vulnerable young woman, Courtney Herron. As a community, it is right to express our grief about this crime, her circumstances and the way in which she died.

Despite the best intentions of many good people around her, Courtney was sleeping rough in our city, putting her at grave risk. We must ask ourselves, what more could we have done to help her? How can we prevent this happening again?

We know that 40 per cent of people experiencing homelessness are in financial stress. Many are young people and older women, priced out of the rental market, struggling to make ends meet and waiting in the queue for social housing.

Family violence is a factor in 30 per cent of cases and a significant cause of homelessness for women.

Drug, alcohol and mental health problems are thought to account for around 10 per cent of cases.

We are falling way short of what’s needed to tackle the causes, let alone provide enough services to help people once they fall on hard times. This gap will only widen as our population booms, especially in Melbourne.

I ask all Melburnians to be kind and put themselves in the shoes of those who have lost everything. If you want to make a difference, please donate your coins to our city’s crisis housing providers and buy a copy of The Big Issue. Giving money or food directly might feel good but unfortunately prolongs the time people stay out on the streets when they’re sleeping rough.

Building a permanent pathway out of homelessness is the big challenge and the City is putting the call out. We urgently need a joint campaign across all levels of government and it needs to be a priority – from Town Hall to Spring Street to Canberra. Our corporate sector and generous philanthropists are standing by ready to help. We need land and buildings for more frontline services and crisis accommodation. The next step up from there is more social housing, which is at its lowest levels in decades. The pipeline must start flowing.

Click here for the full article: https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/we-re-doing-what-we-can-for-the-homeless-but-there-are-no-quick-fixes-20190530-p51ssn.html

more

2nd June 2019     HOMELESSNESS SOARS IN OUR BIGGEST CITIES, DRIVEN BY RISING INEQUALITY SINCE 2001
by The Conversation

Homelessness has increased greatly in Australian capital cities since 2001. Almost two-thirds of people experiencing homelessness are in these cities, with much of the growth associated with severely crowded dwellings and rough sleeping. 

Homelessness in major cities, especially severe crowding, has risen disproportionately in areas with a shortage of affordable private rental housing and higher median rents. Severe crowding is also strongly associated with weak labour markets and poorer areas with a high proportion of males. 

These are some of the key findings of Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) research released on 30 May. 

Click here for a link to the full article.  more

2nd June 2019     CARELESSLY LINKING CRIME TO BEING HOMELESS ADD TO THE HARMFUL STIGMA
by Alison Young and James Petty in The Conversation


The news of Courtney Herron’s death has shocked Melburnians. While full details are yet to emerge, both she and the man charged with murdering her have been widely reported as being homeless. It’s revealing how news media use this information in framing their coverage of what happened. 

Media use of the term “homeless” is rarely neutral. This is not to say someone’s housing status should never be included in reporting such events. However, we should be wary of how media coverage connects homelessness to violent crimes.

When reading about any event involving people experiencing homelessness, we should remember that being homeless involves serious vulnerability. Homelessness is better understood not as a condition itself, but as a manifestation of multiple vulnerabilities: mental illness, chronic ill-health, unemployment, disadvantage, lack of education, histories of trauma or neglect, substance dependence and, always, poverty. This remains the case regardless of whether the person in question is a victim, an offender, or a bystander.

Click here for the full article. more

2nd June 2019     ONE OF THE WORST THINGS ABOUT HOMELESSNESS IS THE SHAME
by Wendy Squires in The Age

Shame is a complex emotion. For most of my life it has prohibited me from revealing an experience that has shaped me in the most profound of ways.

ou see, when I was 17, I became homeless for a period. As in, I lived in a friend’s garage, sneaking in when his parents had parked each night and getting up before they left each day. It meant me hiding my sleeping bag in bushes before heading off to school and relying on the kindness of others for food. It entailed overstaying my welcome at every opportunity, mocking sleep so as not to be moved off a warm couch or sneaking into their rooms when parents had gone to bed, for a safe place to sleep.

And it made me feel like shit, every humiliating second of every day. I felt I was white trash, despite my middle-class upbringing, unlovable and unworthy. And despite getting my life back on track and achieving success later in life, I will always be that scared young girl with knotted hair who brushed her teeth with her finger and bathed with a garden hose, among other indignities I don’t care to share.

So acute are these memories that when I read that yet another young woman, now identified as 25-year-old Courtney Herron, had been found dead in a Melbourne park on the weekend – this one identified as having “no fixed address” – tears came that haven’t really left. I can only imagine how vulnerable, lost and insignificant she must have felt in that dark park ringed by the warm homes of affluent others.

There are 116,427 people homeless in Australia on any given night, according to Mission Australia. This includes 15,872 children under 12. Only 7 per cent of people who are homeless are sleeping on the streets. The rest are hidden away, couch-surfing with friends, moving between emergency shelters and hostels and sleeping in cars and makeshift dwellings. Domestic and family violence is one of the top reasons people end up in this situation.

Courtney Herron's tragic death needs to be mourned as an act of neglect en masse. No young woman, man or child should be sleeping rough and no decent society should be allowing it to happen.

Click here for the full article.
more

2nd June 2019     NOT JUST PERSONAL CHOICES: OLDER WOMEN AND HOMELESSNESS
by Felicity Reynolds in SBS Insight

All Australian States once had a commitment to ensuring that all citizens, regardless of income, had access to adequate affordable housing. The post war housing commission building booms in every State were testament to this commitment.

In recent decades, disinvestment in public housing has seen this option move from a dignified housing opportunity for those on low incomes to a largely unobtainable one. Reduced stock, tighter targeting and long waiting periods are the main culprits.

The current cohort of women aged over 65 grew up in a different Australia. An Australia where single women, even if paid enough, often couldn’t get a home loan. An Australia that until the 1970s insisted some women in some job categories resign their position upon marriage.

There was also no superannuation guarantee. It sounds ridiculous now, but all this (and more) very slowly created a lifetime of discriminatory disadvantage for those women. 

It should be troubling to us all that that too many of the women who cared for their elderly parents, the women who gave birth to the next generation and the women who worked their whole lives until an accident, trauma or illness made them unemployed, are now living ‘on the edge’ and unable to find appropriate permanent affordable housing. 

Click here for the full article.  more

2nd June 2019     ANGLICARE VICTORIA CEO CALLS FOR URGENT NATIONAL HOMELESSNESS SUMMIT IN LIGHT OF RECENT TRAGEDY IN MELBOURNE
by Anglicare

On ABC News Breakfast, Anglicare Victoria CEO Paul McDonald appealed to the nation to hold a National Homelessness Summit to address the crisis of housing and homelessness in this country. 

Mr McDonald said: “Aside from the violence in this tragic case concerning Courtney Herron, I think the thing that is shocking the public also is that people are sleeping in parks at such a young age; we’re past crisis point on homelessness in this country for access to social housing. That is why nothing short of a National Homelessness Summit, that brings all tiers of Government together, will be sufficient in solving this issue.

Click here for the full press release.  more

2nd June 2019     COURTNEY HERRON DEATH: VICTORIA GRAPPLES WITH MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTION AMONG HOMELESS
by Lisa Martin in The Guardian

As family and friends of Courtney Herron come to grips with her death, Victorian authorities are grappling with how homeless people with drug addictions and mental illness are falling through cracks in the system.

Guardian Australia understands about 10% of the 14,500 Victorians on the state’s methadone program are homeless. 

People need to be on the program for three months before they are eligible for takeaway does of methadone. Storing the dosages safely could be an issue for homeless people because the medication could be stolen and has a high value on the the black market.

The Launch Housing chief executive, Bevan Warner, lamented hundreds of Victorians are being turned away each week because of a shortage of crisis accommodation.

“There are 423 funded crisis accommodation beds in Melbourne and there’s close to 2,000 people sleeping rough,” Warner said. “It’s very hard for someone to recover from an episode of mental ill health ... or to deal with a substance dependency issue if they’re spending most of their waking hours worrying about where they are going to sleep tonight and if they’ll be safe and secure.”

Victoria’s Council to Homeless Persons says there are 82,500 people, including almost 25,000 children, on the public housing waiting list and a shortfall of 102,800 properties.

Click here for the full article more

Events

2019August
27 National Housing Conference
2019October
14 Victorian Homelessness Conference