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Launch partner in library program to assist homeless

In an Australian first, Launch Housing is partnering with the City of Melbourne to provide a social worker to be based in the city’s libraries who will provide support to those experiencing homelessness. Libraries often provide a welcoming space for people experiencing housing issues and other complex issues.

Launch Housing Acting Chief Executive Officer, Rebecca Naylor says, ‘Having a Launch Housing social worker based at libraries across Melbourne will ensure that people experiencing homelessness or with complex needs have the same right to the community’s resources as everybody else.

‘The social worker will also support library staff to understand the issues faced by disadvantaged people in our community.’

Based at the City Library, the Library Social Worker will also support staff across the City of Melbourne’s six libraries – providing training, support, and debriefing.

Read more…

Tiny solution to huge problem

Launch Housing is urging governments at all levels to unlock underutilised land for housing to help reduce the increasing rate of homelessness.

To kick off Homelessness Week, the organisation has unveiled the first phase of its Harris Transportable Housing Project, in which 6 of 57 tiny homes have been built on VicRoads land in Melbourne’s inner west.

Launch Housing Chief Executive Officer Bevan Warner said the project demonstrates how unused government land can be repurposed to create safe, stable homes.

“Homelessness is increasing right across Australia. In Victoria alone, almost 25,000 people are without a home on any given night, and around 1,100 of them are sleeping rough,” Bevan said.

“Meanwhile, there’s around 195 hectares of government land sitting empty across Melbourne, which could host more than enough homes to end rough sleeping.

“If this land was unlocked, projects such as the Harris Transportable Housing Project could be scaled up to deliver housing solutions that the market wouldn’t otherwise provide.

“Tiny homes are part of the solution to homelessness. We want to work with people and organisations across all sectors to grow projects like this and rapidly build more homes for Victorians who urgently need them.”

The project is a partnership between Launch Housing and philanthropists Geoff and Brad Harris, of Harris Capital, with funding from the Victorian Property Fund.

It uses nine parcels of vacant VicRoads land in Footscray and Maidstone to create 57 tiny homes for people with a chronic experience of homelessness.

Tenant story: Deborah – watch her story here.

Deborah, along with her pet dog Zeus, says having a safe, stable home has drastically changed her life.

“I’ve been homeless since I was 13. I was always searching for somewhere that’s homey, where I can have a garden [and] a dog, where it’s safe,” Deborah said.

“If it wasn’t for the workers from Launch Housing who have come into my life, I wouldn’t be sitting here. I feel like someone took me from basically hell, and put me on this cloud of puffy niceness.

“I get to stay here for as long as I need to. It’s a really big gift [to have this home] and because it’s a gift, I want to take care of it.

“For the first time in a long time I feel like I’m in a stable environment… I can look at becoming a peer support worker, or working in women’s shelters. That’s my goal in life, to help people. This place gives me hope.”

Philanthropists Geoff and Brad Harris, of Harris Capital, contributed $4 million towards the $9 million project:

“We embarked on this project with Launch Housing after seeing a rise in people sleeping on the streets in Melbourne’s CBD. These homes are a great, long-term option to break that cycle for people who have been bounced around between short-term housing and homelessness. Having a place they can live for as long as they like means they can really start to rebuild their lives,” Brad said.

“As a wealthy country, the three basics we as Australians should be providing people are a basic education, basic healthcare and basic housing. We as a society need to come up with innovative ideas like this to help solve the growing issue of homelessness and stop people falling through the cracks,” Geoff said.

New Residential Tenancies Commissioner

Deputy CEO of Launch Housing and CHIA Vic Board Member Dr Heather Holst has been appointed as Victoria’s inaugural Commissioner for Residential Tenancies.

CHIA Vic CEO Lesley Dredge says Dr Holst is a ‘brilliant’ choice for the position.

‘Heather has worked in the housing, homelessness and tenancy sectors since 1989. With her experience of the sector stretching from the coal face of being a frontline worker through to senior executive and board roles, she will bring invaluable knowledge and skills to this new role.’

‘Victorian tenants will have a committed and diligent advocate,’ Ms Dredge says.

As Commissioner for Residential Tenancies, Dr Holst will work closely with stakeholders across the rental sector to identify systemic issues and make recommendations to government.

Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation Marlene Kairouz says, ‘Dr Heather Holst has long been an advocate for housing rights and I congratulate her on her appointment.’

 

 

 

New Launch Housing Chief Executive Announced

Launch Housing, one of Victoria’s largest providers of housing and homeless support services, has announced that current Managing Director of Victoria Legal Aid, Bevan Warner, will commence as its new Chief Executive Officer on 29 August 2018.

Launch Housing Chair Neil Chatfield says‘We are delighted to announce Bevan’s appointment. His wealth of experience working with government and communities to advance human rights in meaningful and practical ways, makes him the ideal leader to continue the transformation and long-term development of Launch Housing.

‘He is an experienced Chief Executive and skilled advocate, who has modernised and improved services for the 90,000 plus clients assisted by the legal assistance sector each year.

‘Homelessness is not a condition that can’t be fixed. It is a problem that can be solved with the right policies and priority attention from government and the wider community. An individual life of dignity and the ability to sustain productive employment, requires all people to have access to safe, secure and affordable housing.’

Mr Warner says, ‘People’s experience of neglect, financial insecurity, trauma and ill health can propel them, often unfairly, into the justice system and sometimes into homelessness. We can do better as a community. I am thrilled to be joining Launch Housing, to continue its transformation and long-term development, and to provide much needed services to people in acute need.

‘Launch Housing is an organisation I have long admired, and I look forward to meeting staff, clients, to learning more, and applying my energies and skills to help achieve its mission of ending homelessness.’

-article courtesy of Launch Housing

Tony Keenan steps down

Launch Housing will begin to search for a new CEO after Tony Keenan today announced he will step down on May 25 from the role he has held for the past three years.

Launch Housing’s Chair Neil Chatfield noted Tony’s significant contribution to its mission to end homelessness, including in his nine-plus years as CEO of Hanover prior to its merger with Homeground to become Launch.

‘The depth of experience and sector knowledge, combined with a great passion to improve the lives of our clients made Tony a great choice to lead the bold aspirations which were established for Launch,’ Neil says.

‘Over the past three years under Tony’s leadership we have built an outstanding platform from which to serve our client base, through optimising our resources to increase the supply of housing, implementing a strong research and advocacy base, and restructuring our teams to focus on the ever growing needs of our clients.

‘On behalf of the Board and the entire Launch organisation we are thankful for the major contribution which Tony has made and we wish him well in his future endeavours.’