Sacred Heart Mission welcomes the Victorian Government’s commitment to extend successful homelessness programs and to build 1,000 new units of public housing by 2022.
CEO Cathy Humphrey says the State Budget 2019-20, announced yesterday, provides a good starting point toward improving the lives of some of Victoria’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged people.
“We are pleased that the Victorian Government has acknowledged the national homelessness crisis by delivering on these election promises,” says Cathy.
However, Sacred Heart Mission (SHM) shares the concerns of the Council to Homeless Persons (CHP), who says, “the reality is there are 41,677 households on the waiting list for social housing in Victoria. Research has identified that Victoria has a shortfall of 102,800 social housing properties.”
SHM urges the Victorian Government to invest in more safe and affordable housing for all Victorians, by increasing its investment to deliver 3,000 social housing properties a year, to meet the demand.
“Even with the 1,000 new units of public housing planned, there will still be a reduction in the proportion of all housing in Victoria that is social housing, meaning more people will fall through the gap because they can’t afford private rentals and can’t access social housing,” says Cathy.
SHM expresses concern that while the government has made commitments to immediate work on housing supply in Stonnington and Darebin, there are no immediate plans for the Port Phillip and Yarra areas.
“As a well-established community service provider in the City of Port Phillip, we know that the crisis is worsening here,” says Cathy.
“On average over the past five years, over 500 new people access our services each year, and the average rate of homelessness on presentation at some of our services was 39 per cent.
“We work with some of the most vulnerable people in the community, but our services and support will not work if we cannot get people in safe, sustainable, and affordable housing.”
SHM acknowledges the government’s positive expansion of Social Impact Investments (SII) across the state.
“We have had great success with our flagship Journey to Social Inclusion program, and we are glad to see the government recognizes the future benefit of SII’s in achieving impactful social change.”
SHM also welcomes the government’s ongoing investment into understanding the state of mental health services in Victoria, and its commitment to addressing related issues via the current Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System.
See the Victorian Budget website for a full breakdown of the State Budget 2019-20.
Stay up to date with our monthly newsletter, Heartbeat