Eastern Metropolitan MP Rod Barton has applauded the opening of Ozanam House in North Melbourne and its suite of support services for the city’s homeless today.
The new VincentCare Victoria facility offers 10 levels of independent apartment accommodation, including short term crisis accommodation and longer term options available to women and over-55s escaping chronic homelessness.
“Bringing these services together into a single facility, which includes medical and support services, showers, meals and storage facilities is a great initiative that really addresses the needs of those experiencing homelessness in our city,” said Mr Barton.
“There’s a public housing shortage across the state and its an increasing problem outside the inner city. In my metro electorate we had over 14,000 request homelessness service support last year,” he said.
Rental pricing pressures, domestic and family violence and youth homelessness was growing and largely invisible problem in Melbourne’s outer suburbs and Mr Barton has welcomed the Labor Government’s commitment to building 1000 additional public housing properties.
“The inquiry into the causes of homelessness and service needs that I instigated in parliament this month will bring some focus onto how widespread and serious this issue is in our wider communities,” he said.
“Until very recently I believed that homelessness was just 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, the elderly 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 Mr Barton’s Eastern Metropolitan Region 14,000 people accessed homelessness assistance services, representing 15 percent of service requests across Victoria.
VincentCare’s Inner Melbourne Redevelopment is a once in a multi-generational opportunity responding to the needs of the most disadvantaged living in our community today. This $43 million redevelopment will see Ozanam House transformed into a world-class support and accommodation hub providing short, medium and long-term housing solutions in Melbourne’s CBD.