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Andrews Labor government unveiled the homelessness, rough sleeping plan. The program is aimed at getting the rough sleepers into a home fast and to strengthen the support services to protect people from becoming homeless.

The plan focuses on the support and housing needs of the groups affected by the rough sleeping:

  • The recently homeless
  • Those who are sleeping rough for an extended period
  • Those now at risk of chronic homelessness

The government said that the evidence had suggested there were increases in Victorians who were sleeping rough in recent years. In the few years leading up to 2016-2017, there was a 72 per cent increase in the number of people who are sleeping rough when they were first seeking support from homelessness services. The trend is consistent with the increase in sleeping rough both nationally and in Victoria.

The number of clients has grown to over 100,00 just in Victoria who are getting help from the homelessness service. With an attempt to escalate the issues that have driven the increase in homelessness within Victoria. Including things like lack of affordable housing, housing costs and the lack of income support from Centrelink along with family violence situations.

The services trying to answer to the disaster don’t have the capacity to solve the prolonged homelessness successfully and intervene earlier to prevent people from becoming homeless in the first place. The plan led by the previous executive director of the brotherhood St Laurence, who worked closely with the frontline agencies that put together an individual situation that included the evidence base recommendations such as early prevention or youth support services.

Homeless man with blanket

The result was a government plan that intended to address rough sleeping through the early interventions, that quickly support and provide stable accommodation and effective homelessness service systems. The government will give $19 million to establish an outreach team within the high need areas like Ballarat, Swan Hill, Melbourne CBD, Dandenong and Geelong.

The aim is to get the workers to seek out and give support to the people who are going through homelessness by connecting them with health services and emergency accommodation.
There is an initiative that will include $9 million to develop supportive housing teams. These teams will take on the task of tackling chronic homelessness with an extra $5 million going to therapeutic services within major city crisis accommodation centres.  Extra money is to go to building 100 units that have on-site support services.

Martin Foley, the Victorian Minister for housing, states the government aims to break the cycle of homelessness within Victoria. There will be early intervention and connecting those who are homeless with the services that will help them with independent living.

The VCOSS has stated that the government’s action plan is set up in the right direction to help lower homelessness within Victoria. There are different and complex reasons for the homelessness which don’t just disappear when those who are rough sleeping find accommodation. We need to provide the whole spectrum of services that people need like financial help, legal aid and counselling to help people stay in the housing that they are provided with.
We need to get to the bottom of what has caused their homelessness.  We can better place them with the right services, so they have a chance to get their life on track and remain in accommodation long-term.

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