The parliamentary inquiry into homelessness in Victoria will investigate the many social, economic and policy factors that impact on homelessness and identify policies and practices from all levels of government that have a bearing on delivering services to the homeless.
There is no single fix that will end homelessness and poverty in Australia. We need sustained action, solidarity and compassion, because this is an issue that touches us all in some way.
I encourage you to share your ideas and experience with homelessness and delivering services to the homeless in Victoria. Together we can find ways to work toward ending homelessness.
Submissions will close on Friday 31 January 2020
We need to get a proper handle on homelessness in Victoria. What has struck me since become a member of parliament is how many of our people are facing a crisis in housing and are in need of homelessness services, and how hidden the real problem is.
Until very recently I believed that homelessness was a problem in inner city Melbourne. I thought it was about people sleeping rough on our city streets. I thought it was about alcohol and drug abuse and mental health issues. And it absolutely is about all of these things, but it is also a very real and immediate problem for women and families our in our suburbs.
Across Australia almost 289,000 people were helped by specialist homelessness services in the 2018 financial year – 40 percent of these people were in Victoria, with 116,872 people seeking assistance. In the council areas included in my Eastern Metropolitan Region 14,000 people accessed homelessness assistance services, representing 15 percent of service requests across Victoria.
One of the most concerning statistics is the number of women and children that were homeless or at high risk of homelessness – 64 percent of people accessing services in Victoria were women and 37 percent were under 18 years old.
Almost half of these women are fleeing domestic and family violence and walking into a whole new world of problems. It saddens me to hear that 1 in 5 of those women will go back to their violent partners because they have no other options – they have no financial support and nowhere else to go.
These are our mothers and our daughters. They are struggling and we have to do better.
Look, the main pressure point for homelessness at the moment in Victoria is that people just can’t find housing that they can afford. Private rents have been going up in the private rental market and much faster than people’s wages or social security benefits, and the social housing safety net keeps getting smaller and smaller as a proportion of all housing.
In June 2019 I presented a motion to the legislative council for an inquiry into the problem of homelessness in Victoria. Submissions for this inquiry close …