WLASN meeting notes 2024

Below are the WLASN meeting notes for 2024.

Western Homelessness Network

The Western Homelessness Network is a Network of the 24 Specialist Homelessness and Family Violence Services (SHSs), managing over 100 homelessness and family violence programs, partnered with 13 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 shares two working groups, and is a member of the Victorian Homelessness Network, working in coordination with homelessness networks across the State.

Below is 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.

Membership of the Western Homelessness Network

Member agencies of the Western LASN are: Caroline Chisolm Society, City of Melbourne, 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, Kids First, Latitude Directions for Young People, McAuley, Melbourne City Mission, Melton Housing, Refuge Victoria, Salvation Army Housing Services, The Salvation Army, Unison, Uniting Wyndham, VincentCare, Wintringham, Wombat Housing Support Service and Women's Housing Ltd.

Associate members are: Department of Families, Fairness and Housing, Bolton Clarke, Housing Choices, Maribyrnong City Council, Moonee Valley City Council, Wyndham City Council, SUMMITT, VACCA, Wellways and the Western Integrated Family Violence Committee.

Ending homelessness in Melbourne's west

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% in July 2023) and rents are high. In March 2023 there were no private rental properties available in the West that were affordable for someone on Jobseeker, Newstart or for a single parent or couple with 1-2 children in receipt of Centrelink income.

There are 14,358 social housing properties in Melbourne’s west however, there are approximately 30,000 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 2022/23, 15,000 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 over four years. Construction of 6,000 properties a year for 10 years is required just to house those households already on the waiting list. 

Strategic plan

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.

Orientation to the homelessness service system in Melbourne's west

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 for new homelessness and allied workers. The Homelessness Networker can also provide the orientation to groups of workers as needed.  

Orientation dates for 2024

Thursday 8th February 2024, 10am – 1pm, on zoom

Register at: https://events.humanitix.com/orientation-to-the-homelessness-system-in-mellbourne-s-west-february-2024

Thursday 18th April 2024, 10am – 1pm on zoom

Register at: https://events.humanitix.com/orientation-to-the-homelessness-system-in-melbourne-s-west-april-2024

Thursday 20th June 2024, 10am – 1pm in Ngerren Biik Meeting Room, corner Buncle Street and Flemington Rd, North Melbourne (behind Wombat Housing Support Service, 191 Melrose St, North Melbourne)

Register at: https://events.humanitix.com/orientation-to-the-homelessness-system-in-melbourne-s-west-june-2024

Thursday 22nd August 2024, 10am – 1pm on zoom

Register at: https://events.humanitix.com/orientation-to-the-homelessness-system-in-melbourne-s-west-august-2024

Thursday 17th October 2024, 10am – 1pm, 1pm in Ngerren Biik Meeting Room, corner Buncle Street and Flemington Rd, North Melbourne (behind Wombat Housing Support Service, 191 Melrose St, North Melbourne)

Register at: https://events.humanitix.com/orientation-to-the-homelessness-system-in-melbourne-s-west-october-2024

Tuesday 3rd December 2024, 10am – 1pm, TBC

Register at: https://events.humanitix.com/orientation-to-the-homelessness-system-in-melbourne-s-west-december-2024