The Western Homelessness Network is a Network of the 24 Specialist Homelessness and Family Violence Services (SHSs), managing 114 homelessness and family violence programs, and 10 allied services, in Melbourne’s West.
These services meet every six weeks, as the Western Homelessness Local Area Service Network (WLASN), to improve responses to people experiencing homelessness in Melbourne’s West through management of coordinated homelessness service system arrangements, consumer consultation, linkages with allied service sectors and shared professional development.
The Western Homelessness Network works very closely with the Northern Homelessness Network, sharing a number of working groups, and is a member of the Victorian Homelessness Network, working in coordination with homelessness networks across the State.
Below are the Terms of Reference for the Western Homelessness Network, a strategy for ending homelessness in Melbourne's west and a copy of the latest Orientation to the Homelessness Service System in Melbourne's west.
The following pages include more resources from and about the Western Homelessness Network:
At the end of this page is orientation information and a document about the homelessness service system and strategies for ending homelessness in Melbourne's west.
Member agencies of the Western LASN are: Caroline Chisolm Society, CoHealth, Elizabeth Morgan Aboriginal Women's Service, FlatOut, GenWest, Good Shepherd Australia and NZ, Hope Street Youth and Family Services, Housing Action for the Aged Group, Jesuit Social Services, Latitude Directions for Young People, McAuley Community Services for Women, Melbourne City Mission, Melton Housing, Refuge Victoria, Salvation Army Housing Services, The Salvation Army, Unison, Uniting Wyndham, WestJustice, Whitelion, Wintringham, Wombat Housing Support Service and Women's Housing Ltd.
Associate members are: Bolton Clarke, Housing Choices, Maribyrnong City Council, Moonee Valley City Council, SUMMITT, VACCA, Wellways and the Western Integrated Family Violence Committee.
Melbourne is experiencing a housing crisis. Consequently, the number of people who do not have somewhere to live is increasing. Homelessness increased by 40% in Melbourne’s west between 2011 and 2016.
We can end homelessness. The attached paper, 'Ending homelessness in Melbourne's west' provides some strategies, identified by the Western Homelessness Network.
The West has historically been one of the most affordable areas of Melbourne. This is no longer the case. Private rental vacancy rates are low in Melbourne (1.7% in April 2022) and rents are high. In March 2022 there were no private rental properties available in the West that were affordable for someone on Jobseeker.
There are 14,358 social housing properties in Melbourne’s west however, there are approximately 10,000 on the waiting list for access to those properties.
Census 2016 identified that the numbers of people living in severe overcrowding in the West has increased by 79%. Severe overcrowding is defined by the ABS as people living in housing that is four or more bedrooms short (even allowing for gender). These people are likely to become the next wave of people presenting to the homelessness service system – a system that is already beyond overwhelmed.
In 2020/21, 16,487 people presented to homelessness services in the West for assistance. This was far in excess of the capacity of the homelessness service system to respond. Primarily these individuals and households need housing. Some of them will also need a period of support.
The experience of homelessness is devastating for those individuals presenting and is extremely distressing for a workforce that is funded to respond to their need.
The pandemic has shown us that, when the political and community will exists, housing can be constructed. The State Government is in the process of constructing 12,000 new properties. To meet current need construction of 6,000 properties a year for 10 years is required.
The Western Homelessness Network provides homelessness and family violence services in the Local Government Areas of: Melbourne, Maribyrnong, Wyndham, Moonee Valley, Brimbank, Melton and Hobsons Bay.
The powerpoint presentation below provides an overview of homelessness and the homelessness service system in Melbourne's west.
Orientation sessions to the homelessness service system in Melbourne's west are held quarterly. The first 1.5 hours of the session provides an overview of homelessness and the homelessness service system in the West, so is relevant for both homelessness and allied workers.
The second 1.5 hours focusses on the 'nuts of bolts' of the homelessness service system and is targetted to new homelessness workers.
These orientations will be held every two months during 2023, alternating face to face and online (unless we find that one mode is preferred).
These orientations will be held every two months during 2023 - alternating face to face and online (unless we find that one format is preferred).
Dates and registration details for 2023 are:
Every year members of the Network contribute to the development of an annual plan for the work of the Network. The latest plan is below.