VCOSS has welcomed the Victorian Government’s Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Plan aimed at supporting people at risk of or experiencing homelessness to find a safe and secure home.
VCOSS Acting CEO Mary Sayers said the Action Plan was a comprehensive and multi-faceted response to a critical issue.
“Each night, around 1100 people in Victoria are sleeping rough – and this number is growing.”
“This Plan sets us in the right direction to reduce homelessness in Victoria.
“One hundred and six new units of accommodation will be built for people sleeping rough, women and children escaping family violence and young people leaving out-of-home care.
Ms Sayers said the Action Plan also recognises that to end homelessness for good, the right services are needed on top of building more houses.
“There are often multiple and complex reasons for homelessness and these don’t magically disappear when accommodation is found.
“Providing the complete spectrum of wrap-around services someone may need – such as counselling, legal and financial help – supports people to stay in housing.
“By getting to the bottom of what has caused someone to be at risk of or experiencing homelessness, we are better placed to ensure they can get their life back on track, and remain in their home for the long-term.”
Ms Sayers said it was good to see the Action Plan’s focus extended beyond the Melbourne CBD.
“While homelessness isn’t always as visible outside of the city, rough sleeping is just as pronounced in Melbourne’s outer suburbs and country Victoria.
“Establishing new assertive outreach teams in Dandenong, Frankston, Maroondah, Geelong, Swan Hill, Warrnambool, Ballarat and Bendigo will help ensure support can be delivered in the most appropriate way for each outer-suburban or regional setting.
While commending the State Government, VCOSS also called on the Federal Government to step up and do their part for the state and country’s most vulnerable. “The Victorian State Government has shown its commitment to developing and funding real solutions to the homelessness crisis.
“We look forward to the State Government building on this funding down-payment in the future so the hard work still to come can be achieved.
“Now it is time for the Federal Government to come to the party and develop a National Homelessness Plan and provide the additional funding to make real, long lasting change,” said Ms Sayers.