In January 2018, the Victorian Government announced more than $45 million in initiatives as part of Victoria’s Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Plan.

Victoria’s Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Plan provides a targeted approach to reducing the incidence and impacts of rough sleeping across Victoria. It works together with a number of pre-existing programs addressing homelessness in Victoria, including Towards Home.

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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. 

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About Towards Home

Towards Home is a $9.8 million investment to house vulnerable people who are sleeping rough in inner Melbourne and give them targeted support to maintain their housing.

It builds on:

  • $750,000 to extend the Rough Sleepers Initiative
  • Additional $850,000 to help rough sleepers statewide during winter
  • $109 million homelessness package.

Work has been completed at the Preston site and residents have already taken up accommodation. The remaining sites are on track for completion and tenancy by February 2018.

Work on the remaining key objectives is progressing well and further announcements will be made shortly.

Towards Home – the next two years

Over the next two years, the Towards Home package will deliver:

  • Immediate, dedicated access to 40 transitional housing units across Melbourne until new additional permanent housing is in place
  • 30 new modular and relocatable homes on public land
  • A guaranteed pathway to permanent supportive housing so that rough sleepers gain stable housing as quickly as possible
  • Case management and targeted supports for an immediate 40 vulnerable rough sleepers for up to two years to help them maintain their housing.

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