Call to implement family violence recommendations

CHIA Vic is looking forward to the response from the Victorian Premier to a joint letter calling for action to eliminate homelessness caused by family violence by fully implementing the Royal Commission’s recommendations.

You can read the letter here.

Stimulate social housing

Anglicare Australia has called on cabinet to include action on social housing and Newstart in its stimulus package.

Anglicare Australia Executive Director Kasy Chambers said the stimulus package offered the Morrison Government the perfect opportunity to invest in social housing.

“The homelessness crisis will only get worse after the summer bushfires. The effects are likely to be felt for years. Social housing is the best way to tackle that crisis.

“Social housing will offer relief for the tens of thousands of people who are homeless in Australia. It also boosts GDP, and creates jobs in construction for the regions that need it most.

“With the economy reeling from the recent bushfires and struggling in the wake of the coronavirus, we need to invest in projects that are shovel-ready. There is no time to waste. Social housing projects can get off the ground more quickly than road or rail infrastructure – and it brings longer-term benefits.

“For years, the community and business sectors have known what’s needed to be done to boost the economy. Now it’s time for the Government to act before it’s too late.”

Ms Chambers also called on the government to raise Newstart.

“For months, experts and economists have been telling the government that the best way to boost the economy is to raise the rate of Newstart. Now is the time to act,” Ms Chambers said.

A Newstart increase of $95 a week would boost the economy by $4 billion – and create thousands of jobs. The benefits would go straight to the areas that need them most.

“Whole communities would benefit, including those recovering from this summer’s devastating fires. The flow-on effects would be profound. Every cent would be spent in local communities.

“We call on the Government to take the step that we know would make the biggest impact to the economy and those in need. It’s time to raise the rate of Newstart.”

More housing for family violence survivors in Dandenong

Family violence support service, Wayss, has added 16 new properties to its housing stock available for women and children escaping the horrors of family violence.

The properties are in addition to 14 properties Wayss secured under the DHHS funded head-lease program in 2019.

Wayss Chief Executive Officer, Elizabeth Thomas, says head-leasing, where a private rental property is rented from a landlord by a third party and
then sub-let to the tenant, is a great opportunity for Wayss to directly access private rental stock in the local community for families in need.

‘Stable housing is the first step in empowering a family violence victim survivor to take control of their life and recover. Once the family has secure accommodation, we can then coordinate specialist support services to help the woman and her children rebuild their lives,’  Ms Thomas says.

‘In just over 12 months, we’ve increased our housing stock to 30 head-lease properties under our management and that will result in some incredibly positive outcomes for families living in our local community. That’s 30 families that now have the chance to build a positive rental history to support future tenancy applications – it’s access to a critical first step that they may not have been able to take without this program.’

Before linking the family with their new home, Wayss conducts a full safety and risk assessment of the property and works closely with local real estate agents to ensure the right property for the right family. When they move in, the tenant pays only 33 per cent of the rent for the first six months, then 66 per cent for the remainder of the 12-month tenancy. The goal is for the family to then take over the lease and maintain the tenancy. The subsidised rent is a particular advantage when a woman is escaping a financially abusive relationship and needs time to get on top of their finances.

Ms Thomas says Wayss wholeheartedly supports the continued development of the head-lease model across Victoria.

‘Head-leasing is an extension of the housing first model which focuses on getting people housed in safe, secure accommodation and then supporting them to stay housed by access to dedicated case-management. Safe, secure housing is essential to support families to plan pathways for living their best life,’ Ms Thomas says.

HeyVan helping homeless in Bendigo

A year on from its Bendigo launch, Haven; Home, Safe’s HeyVan initiative has helped more than 160 people experiencing homelessness.

The HeyVan is a safe space where rough sleepers can connect with Haven’s Homeless Assertive Outreach Response team. It carries basic foods and essential items and stops at several locations across the City of Greater Bendigo.

An initiative of the Victorian Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Plan, the HeyVan is one of eight assertive outreach programs across the state to service areas identified as having the highest incidence of rough sleeping.

The Bendigo and another service in Swan Hill services have been funded for $1.28 million over two years and have the capacity to provide assertive outreach to people sleeping rough, including rapid access to emergency accommodation, health services, ongoing case management and housing support.

Housing Richard Wynne says,’The results of the first year show this program is making a lasting difference for people sleeping rough’.

How far have we come?

Housing Choices Australia is hosting the 2020 Oswald Barnett Oration on Affordable and social housing in Melbourne on Wednesday, February 12 from 6pm to 8.30pm in the Pavilion, Queen Victoria Gardens.

Join housing sector and service provider colleagues and key representatives from government, planning and property sectors, for a relaxed summer evening of refreshments and hear from some extraordinary leaders.

This year’s panel is expert, diverse and opinionated and they share a common goal; to dramatically improve the housing opportunities of people in need, in the city fast becoming the growth capital of the nation, Melbourne.

Together they will outline what’s been achieved in the last few years and what more we must do, collectively, to deliver safe and affordable housing to everyone in our capital city and beyond.

The Panellists:

The Right Hon. The Lord Mayor of Melbourne, Sally Capp
Victorian Housing and Planning Minister, The Hon. Richard Wynne MP
Executive Director, Property Council of Australia (Victorian Division), Cressida Wall
Managing Director, Housing Choices Australia, Michael Lennon

Registration is essential. Click here to book.

 

Identifying older Aussies at risk of homelessness

A new AHURI report investigates the issues affecting older Australians who are experiencing or facing homelessness.

The research, An effective homelessness services system for older Australians identified three broad groups of older Australians who become homeless: those with conventional housing histories who experience a financial or other ‘shock’ late in life, such as eviction from rental housing, the death of a spouse, or a decline in their health; those who had experienced long-term social exclusion and had previously experienced homelessness; and people with transient work and housing histories.

One of the findings was a recommendation to expand the Assistance with Care and Housing program (ACH) as a simple first step to better support this vulnerable group.

Click here to download the report.

WPI calls for Xmas donation

Create new beginnings for women and children with a Festive Season donation! A message from WPI

When Marie, her six month old son, Josh, and 14 year old daughter, Holly, escaped her extremely violent ex-partner, they went into hiding. They were terrified that he would find out where they were, as he had threatened her life on many occasions. The police had given her a phone number to call so she could raise the alarm and get help quickly. He fought Marie for access to their son Josh, who was just a baby. Throughout the court process she was terrified. During this time, she was also moving from place to place, trying to keep her location a secret and care for her traumatised children. Marie desperately needed a safe and secure place to start again and rebuild her life.

After two years of running, Marie found refuge in a Women’s Property Initiatives home. She has lived there for eight years and it is a safe haven that she can rely on. It was eventually determined that it was simply too dangerous for her ex-partner to have any contact with Marie or the children, but to this day she has to hide from her abuser. The courts and police have supported her in her efforts to keep her location a secret, but still she worries that he will find them. Added security measures at her home give her some peace of mind.

Although she carries the physical and emotional scars of that relationship, she has built a new life for herself and Josh and Holly. Josh has autism and she has found him a supportive and inclusive school. Marie has studied to be a classroom integration aid, which has helped her understand more about what he goes through. She works at Josh’s school, helping him and lots of other children. She has created a stable and loving home and he is thriving. So is Holly, who is now an adult and works as a call center manager for an energy provider. In a secure home, Holly was able to complete her education and move on from the trauma.

This is the difference a stable home makes. It provided this family with a new beginning and they grabbed it with both hands. They are living productive lives and contributing to their community.

“My home is my safe place, my sanctuary. Because it is secure, we’ve been able to heal and try to be normal. It has been critical in creating a routine for Josh. He is doing well at school. I love being part of that and giving back by helping other kids like him. When you’ve been through what we have, you never take a safe home for granted. We are the lucky ones,” said Marie.

We provide homes for more than 230 women and children. They have been able to enjoy many happy celebrations in the homes they love. This festive season, make a tax deductible donation that will create new beginnings for women like Marie; women who deserve the safe and permanent homes that lots of us take for granted.

Click here to donate now

 

turning the sod in Mitcham

Delivering crisis accommodation

Ground has been broken on a project to deliver an eight-unit development in Melbourne’s east designed to support older women at risk of homelessness.

Community Housing Ltd (CHL), Uniting Vic.Tas together with other partners Mountview Uniting Church, Oak Building Group and the Department of Housing and Human Services (DHHS) have celebrated turning-the-sod on the project in Mitcham.

The homes will be located close to public transport and schools to ensure tenants maintain their links to local services and the community.

‘We are pleased to be partnering in this significant project which will provide safe, secure accommodation for older women in housing need. We will bring in our expertise of careful and sensitive design utilising 25 years of experience in designing accommodation for people in highest housing need,’  says Steve Bevington, CHL’s Managing Director.

The Hon. Bronwyn Pike, CEO-designate of Uniting Vic.Tas, says the facility will support women facing homelessness to take control of their lives and transition into sustainable, safe, long-term housing.

‘The numbers of women over 55 years of age requiring homelessness support are underestimated and under-reported,’ Ms Pike says. ‘Mountview House will be a step toward helping address the need for older women’s crisis accommodation in Melbourne’s East.’

The Mountview House facility is nearly two decades in the making. The Victorian Government is contributing more than $2.3 million to the facility’s development as part of its Accommodation for the Homelessness Phase 2 initiative.

 

 

AHURI finds high rates of homelessness in vet community

Approximately 5.3 per cent of Australian veterans who left the Australian Defence Force (ADF) between 2001 and 2018 experienced homelessness, AHURI research has revealed.

This rate of 5.3 per cent, which equates to 5,767 veterans, is significantly higher than that for the general population (1.9%), and although these rates are not directly comparable, this finding strongly suggests that veterans are over-represented in the Australian homeless population. It is also much higher than the estimate of around 3,000 homeless veterans previously assumed by government agencies such as the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

Read more…