Submission to the Inquiry into Homelessness in Victoria
Housing is the foundation for a good life.
Having a place to call home that is safe, affordable, secure, healthy and fit-for-purpose, creates the conditions for people to thrive – for example, to participate and achieve in education and training, find a job and hold onto it, and engage in other health-protecting and health-promoting behaviours.
Victoria has the best performing economy in the country, but not all Victorians are sharing in the state’s prosperity. There are 25,000 Victorians who are homeless on any given night. We are faced with this problem today because successive governments, at all levels, have largely treated the symptoms of homelessness in Victoria – for example, through programs that respond to individual-level factors or characteristics.
These programmatic responses are important, but without concurrent and sustained action on the underlying structural and systemic causes of homelessness, demand-management becomes the focus, funding and practice orient to squeaky wheel crisis responses, homelessness prevention is crowded out,and the broader societal goal of ending homelessness is lost.
This submission focuses on reorienting policies, funding and practice from crisis towards prevention. We will never end homelessness unless we effect this shift.
VCOSS believes that sustained action is required by all levels of government and the community focused across four priorities:
- A big build of public and community housing
- Action to end poverty, disadvantage and insecurity
- A strong services system which can prevent homelessness
- The right supports delivered at the right time