Homeless agencies are concerned for people who will again be on the streets once the Victorian Government cuts funding to temporarily accommodate the homeless. Source: ABC News.
The Age reports there are 2159 households currently put up in a hotel under the government scheme to protect the homeless during COVID-19 lockdowns.
Those who are homeless in regional Victoria have already had to leave hotel accommodation as lockdown restrictions have eased and funding has been cut, unless they can pay 30 per cent of their income towards the cost of a room.
Chair of the Northern Homelessness network, Jade Blakkarly, says the options people face when they leave hotel accommodation are bleak.
Victoria’s largest group of homelessness agencies, the Northern and Western Homelessness Networks, released its Crisis In Crisis II report on Sunday.
In a sequel to its equally grim first report, released pre-COVID in 2019, the group calls for the Andrews Government to apply the vigour and urgency of the pandemic health response to the homeless.
The state Government has committed $5.3 billion to build more than 12,000 social and affordable homes. But that takes time, and as Victoria emerges from its current lockdown, only 432 are tenanted or ready to be.
In the meantime, the agencies are calling on the Government to consider buying or leasing hotels, or using student accommodation to house the homeless.
The Department of Families, Fairness and Housing declined to say whether it was considering this call. It would only say it was “working closely with … homelessness organisations to identify suitable housing options”.
‘I’d rather be on the street’: Homeless face return to unsafe rooming houses (By Jewel Topsfield, The Age)