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31st January 2017     A HOUSING AFFORDABILITY CRISIS IN REGIONAL AUSTRALIA? YES, AND HERE’S WHY
by The Conversation

The newly released annual Demographia report on housing affordability has found – once again – that Australia has some of the least affordable housing markets in the world. 

What was more surprising was that Australia had the dubious distinction of having four of the ten least-affordable housing markets covered by the survey. Melbourne was ranked the tenth-most-unaffordable housing market. Wingecarribee and Tweed Heads came in at seventh and eighth respectively.

This is sobering news given the report covers major world centres such as London and New York. And for many commentators this outcome came as a shock: how could regional Australia – which is perceived as less dynamic than the capital cities and with ample space for housing – be so unaffordable?

But the result has been signalled previously. In 2012, Port Macquarie on the New South Wales mid-north coast was named among the five least affordable housing markets globally. It was the most unaffordable housing market in Australia – beating even Sydney.

Indeed, housing researchers have been discussing the housing crisis outside our capitals since the early 1990s.

Click here for a link to the Demographia report. more

3rd January 2017     MAKE HOUSING AFFORDABLE AND CUT ROAD CONGESTION ALL AT ONCE? HERE’S A WAY
by The Conversation

Two of the most pressing problems for Australian cities are housing affordability and traffic congestion. But there is an approach to both problems that could lead to significant improvements at low cost and relatively quickly. It involves developing transit-oriented centres in conjunction with inclusionary zoning.

This form of development gives priority to housing affordability and low car use. It does so by requiring a certain proportion of permanently affordable housing and dwellings without car parking, but with strong access to local facilities. Travel is mainly by walking and public transport.

At the same time, introducing a special rate on land, similar to existing council rates based on land values, and eliminating stamp duty on property transactions would make the market more efficient, reduce budget impacts and support infrastructure provision.

These measures will in no way completely solve our problems. But they would help increase Australia’s supply of affordable housing and reduce road congestion.

Click here for a link to the full article. more

16th December 2016     HELP FOR HOMELESSNESS FALLS SHORT FOR YOUNG PEOPLE LEAVING CARE
by Anglicare Vic

The state government's $109 million plan to attack homelessness is a welcome initiative, particularly for the adult homeless, but it has a big blind spot. It fails to hit the target on the most tragic, yet most easily fixed aspect of youth homelessness.

In the past year more thanover 20,000 young people sought assistance from Victorian homeless services. Young people with backgrounds of state care feature the most heavily in these statistics. According to Swinburne University's national youth homeless survey, more than 60 per cent of homeless young people are from a background of out-of-home care. A further 35 per cent will have five or more places of abode within the first 12 months of exiting state care.
http://www.theage.com.au/comment/help-for-our-homeless-falls-short-20161113-gso406.html more

16th December 2016     STATE GOVERNMENT RELEASES 10 YEAR PLAN TO END FAMILY VIOLENCE
by Western Homelessness Network Coordinator

The State Government has released: Ending Family Violence: Victoria’s Plan for Change. The Plan outlines how the Government will deliver thee recommendations of the Royal Commission in to Family Violence to build a future where all Victorians live free from family violence, and where women and men are treated equally and respectfully. The Plan was recommended by the Royal Commission. It is focused on outcomes. It makes clear our resolute determination to end the murders and keep our children safe, to support victim survivors and stop them falling into homelessness, to build strong and resilient families, and ensure perpetrators are.

Click here for a link to the Plan.

You can monitor the progress of implementation of the Royal Commission recommendations at: http://www.vic.gov.au/familyviolence.html more

6th November 2016     HOMELESSNESS SERVICES NEED ALTERNATE FUNDING TO MEET DEMAND
by Pro Bono

A study from the University of Western Australia’s Centre for Social Impact (CSI) found between 60.6 per cent and 84.6 per cent of the homelessness sector’s income came from government.

Lead author of the study and CSI director Professor Paul Flatau said the reliance on government funding made service providers vulnerable to changes in policy, funding cuts and financial constraints.

“In particular, current levels of funding are too low to fully meet the current needs of those experiencing homelessness and help homeless people find employment and access permanent housing,” Flatau said.

The study found only a minority of services were able to fully meet demands of their clients for access to permanent housing.

Flatau told Pro Bono Australia News the strain meant many service providers were already investigating alternative funding sources, to varying degrees of success. more

12th April 2016     $572M OVER TWO YEARS TO ENACT ROYAL COMMISSION RECOMMENDATIONS
by Premier of Victoria

The State Government has allocated a $572 million statewide funding boost over two years in the 2016/17 Victorian Budget to respond to Royal Commission recommendations that must be done now – including more housing and crisis refuges, more counsellors, more prevention programs and more support for children who are victims of family violence.

This package begins to deliver 65 of the Royal Commission’s most urgent recommendations and is the first step in the long-term process to fix our broken system and change attitudes towards women.

The Labor Government’s family violence package, which puts victims at the heart of our reforms, includes:
• $152.5 million to begin a housing blitz to shelter more victims so they don’t have to choose between homelessness and returning to an abusive relationship. Work will commence on building and redeveloping family violence refuges, expanding crisis accommodation, and rapidly funding up to 130 new social housing homes. Victims will also be kept safe at home through innovative options such as help accessing the private rental market.

See the attached press release for further information. more

4th December 2015     VICTORIA'S 10 YEAR MENTAL HEALTH PLAN
by DHHS/NIFVS

Minister for Mental Health Martin Foley launched Victoria’s 10-year mental health plan.

The plan will guide investment and drive better mental health outcomes for Victorians, bringing together the ideas and insights you shared with us through the online consultation and forums.

http://www.nifvs.org.au/victorias-10-year-mental-health-plan-launched/ more

4th December 2015     FUNDING ANNOUNCEMENT FAMILY VIOLENCE FLEXIBLE SUPPORT PACKAGES
by Department Health and Human Services

The Victorian Government recently announced a boost for more practical support for those experiencing family violence, to help them leave a violent relationship and create a safer, more stable future.
Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos said $12 million over four years will fund Flexible Support Packages to assist with expenses faced by those escaping family violence. more

4th December 2015     EXPERTS WARN AUSTRALIAN PRIVATE RENTAL AT CRISIS POINT
by Nine news

Soaring rents are driving struggling Australians to breaking point, with suburbs once considered to be inexpensive now out of reach for many potential tenants.

Australia's first Rental Affordability Index has revealed that those looking to find rental relief have to move even further than ever from capital cities.

Last year, an estimated 1.6 million Australians struggled to pay their rent.

It's no longer just those on low incomes who are struggling to make ends meet, but also middle income earners in the private rental market.


Read more at http://www.9news.com.au/national/2015/12/02/20/02/experts-warn-australian-private-rental-market-at-crisis-point#dQDWWi5fQZJwYbo3.99
more

30th October 2015     ABORIGINAL RESOURCE GUIDE: WESTERN METROPOLITAN REGION
by Western Homelessness Networker

Brimbank City Council, Victoria University and the Victorian Government have developed a very useful Resource Guide to Aboriginal services and programs in Melbourne's West.  

The Resource Guide can be accessed at:  https://www.vu.edu.au/industry-community/community-partnerships-engagement/indigenous-partnerships more

4th September 2015     WOMEN'S INFORMATION, SUPPORT AND HOUSING IN THE NORTH -WELL BEING PROGRAM
by Women's Information, Support and Housing In the North

Women’s Information, Support and Housing In the North (WISHIN) run a fortnightly
Women’s Well Being  on a Thursday. It is not a focused therapeutic program but engages a range of local female practitioners to share their skills and experience across a range of practices and activities to benefit the development of health and wellbeing. These practices include: mindfulness, guided meditations and relaxation practices, gentle-paced yoga, chi ball, qigong, sound healing and a range of creative arts and crafts. The sessions are free and generally start at 10.30 am and finish at 2.30 pm with a shared lunch provided.

Referrals and bookings are essential. Please call Karyn Down on 8692 2020  more

4th September 2015     PEOPLE SKILLS FOR WORKING WITH COMPLEX BEHAVIOURS (2 DAYS)
by Wodonga TAFE

The Specialist Homelessness Sector short course calendar, which is funded by the Department of Human Services and managed by Wodonga TAFE, has a number of courses that may be relevant to you.

People skills for working with complex behaviours (2 days) – LIMITED PLACES AVAILABLE
Wednesday 9 & Thursday 10 September 2015
Centre for Adult Education, 253 Flinders lane, Melbourne
Price $88

This workshop focuses on developing participants’ skills and abilities to engage with people who have complex needs and what are often referred to as ‘challenging behaviours’. This includes dealing with anger, grief and loss, and mental health issues (risk of suicide is also discussed). Training provides strategies, possible interventions, and new ways of looking at complex behaviours. The content of this training is appropriate for all SHS program types especially initial assessment and planning, case management services, youth, and transitional support.

Click on the link for further details and to secure your place: http://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/people-skills-for-working-with-complex-behaviours-2-days-tickets-1756

more

4th September 2015     UNDER THE PUMP: THE PRESSURES ON YOUNG AUSTRALIANS
by John Cain Foundation

This new book takes a hard look at the big issues facing young people today. The John Cain Foundation commissioned a number of experts in issues affecting Australia’s youth – education and training, employment, housing and engagement in the political process. Their essays highlight the risks and challenges faced by young people today.

The book is now available in hard copy for $25
To order your copy email: secretary@johncainfoundation.com.au

This will shortly be available on line as an e-book for $10 more

24th July 2015     MINISTER MORRISON ACKNOWLEDGES HOUSING STRESS
by Pro Bono

Housing failures are at the centre of most social service challenges in Australia, the Federal Social Service Minister Scott Morrison warned in a speech in Melbourne on Wednesday.

The Minister said a lack of housing stock and affordability is a sign that federation "is failing us", in a speech on Positive Welfare and Compassionate Conservatism to the Institute of Public Affairs in Melbourne.

“You will find housing failures at the centre of most social service challenges. It is either a cause or consequence,” he said. more

24th July 2015     CHILDREN'S RESOURCE PROGRAM BROKERAGE REFUNDED
by Children's Resource Coordinators

The Children's Resource Coordinators have advised that the Brokerage Program has been refunded under the NPAH.

Attached is the new application form. Please ensure that any applications are made using this form, and get rid of any old forms that you may have lying around. The application form can also be downloaded from the Children's Resource Program website on the ‘brokerage’ tab.

Please make contact with Luisa (luisa@merri.org.au) or Halime (halime@merri.org.au) before filling in the application form to ensure that the application meets the criteria. more

9th July 2015     FAMILY RECONCILIATION MEDIATION PROGRAM (FRMP) SNAP SHOT
by FRMP

The Family Reconciliation Mediation Program (FRMP) have provided information on Single Session Family Consultation Follow Up sessions they are holding soon and information on access to their Brokerage Funding. more

26th June 2015     ABORIGINES ADVANCEMENT LEAGUE- PRESENTATION
by Aborigines Advancement League

The Aborigines Advancement League recently did a presentation on their organisation for  the Department of Health and Human Services and the Community Sector in the Northern Metropolitan Region. more

26th June 2015     DECOLONISING SOLIDARITY: DILEMMAS AND DIRECTIONS FOR SUPPORTERS OF INDIGENOUS STRUGGLES
by Clare Land

Decolonizing Solidarity is a newly released book that provides a  "thorough examination of the problems that can arise when activists from colonial backgrounds seek to be politically supportive of indigenous struggles. Blending key theoretical and practical questions, Clare Land argues that the impulses that drive middle-class settler activists to support indigenous peoples
will not lead to successful alliances and meaningful social change without being transformed
through a process of public political action and critical self-reflection."

See attached flyer for more information. more

26th June 2015     ABORIGINAL COMMUNITY ELDERS SERVICES
by A.C.E.S

ACES recently presented an overview of their and the services they provide at a DHHS Community Sector Forum .  ACES operates 3 complex aged care programs from one site.  They offer residential care services, low level care hostel and high level care nursing home accommodation more

26th June 2015     VICTORIAN ABORIGINAL COMMUNITY SERVICES ASSOCIATION -PRESENTATION
by VACSAL

The Victorian Aboriginal Community Services Association Ltd (VACSAL) is a community based organisation established in 1984 as a Peak agency that supports a range of services and provides advice to Government on a range of policy issues impacting on Aboriginal People. Recently VACSALpresented an overview of their organisation and the services provided at a Community Sector forum more

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