Victoria's homelessness and rough sleeping action plan
In January 2017, Mr Tony Nicholson, the Executive Director of the Brotherhood of St Laurence, was appointed to:
- Oversee the delivery of the Towards Home housing and support response
- Develop recommendations for a long-term strategy to reduce rough sleeping in Victoria.
In October 2017, Mr Nicholson presented his advice to the Minister for Housing, together with a detailed situation appraisal setting out the evidence base for his recommendations.
In response, the Victorian Government has developed Victoria's Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Plan – the first phase in the development of a long-term homelessness strategy for Victoria.
The action plan will help tackle rough sleeping and homelessness across Victoria within the context of four key themes:
- Intervening early to prevent homelessness
- Providing stable accommodation as quickly as possible
- Support to maintain stable accommodation
- An effective and responsive homelessness service system.
It also builds on a commitment to grow Victoria’s social housing supply, ensure better collaboration between agencies and improve support services for vulnerable Victorians.
As part of the action plan, the government has announced more than $45 million in initiatives to help break the cycle of homelessness.
It will spend $19 million to establish assertive outreach teams in areas of need across the state – including Melbourne CBD, Dandenong, Frankston, Maroondah, Warrnambool, Ballarat, Geelong, Bendigo, and Swan Hill.
These workers will actively seek out and engage with people experiencing homelessness and connect them with emergency accommodation, health services and ongoing support.
Other initiatives include:
- A further $9 million to help develop six supportive housing teams to tackle chronic homelessness and deliver individual support to vulnerable people once they are housed.
- An additional $4.5m for therapeutic services in major inner city crisis accommodation centres to improve health, wellbeing and housing outcomes.
- $13 million for an additional 106 accommodation units and onsite support, expanding on the success of the Towards Home program and other rapid housing initiatives.
This latest funding announcement comes as the Government invests $799 million into housing and homelessness – in addition to $2.1 billion in financial backing for social housing.