Despite a progressive social agenda in many other areas, Victoria has the lowest level of public and community housing stock in Australia (3.2 per cent of all households).
This means a much greater reliance on the private rental market – amidst overwhelming evidence that this is not delivering for those on low incomes, or who face discrimination in the rental market. It means that the social and economic benefits of having safe, secure and affordable housing are out of reach for tens of thousands of low-income Victorians.
There are currently over 25,000 children on the public housing waiting list. Young people and older women are ending up on the streets or living in their cars due to a lack of housing. Women and children experiencing family violence are forced to remain living in violent homes. People with serious mental health problems have inadequate support to gain or retain housing. Ex-prisoners are re-offending in order to have the security of a prison bed due to lack of housing options. This is not the Victoria we want to live in.
We acknowledge that there have been some positive initiatives to improve responses to homelessness in recent years – including reform of the Residential Tenancies Act, the Social Housing Growth Fund, the Family Violence Housing Blitz, and the Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Plan.
However, these initiatives are not enough to address the housing crisis we now face.
The Housing Peaks Alliance calls on the Victorian Government to develop a 10-year social housing plan.
This will address the backlog of housing infrastructure and not only keep up with population growth but demonstrate a commitment to a stronger, fairer Victoria for future generations.
We are keen to work with the government to explore shared interests and opportunities for pursuing this important social and economic agenda.