Media Release by The Hon Brendan O’Connor MP

More support for vulnerable Victorians

The Gillard Government is investing $14 million in projects to help Victorians who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, Minister for Housing and Homelessness Brendan O’Connor said today.

Mr O’Connor said the 10 Innovation Action Projects, jointly funded by the Australian and Victorian Government under the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness Agreement (NPAH), will improve how services address homelessness, and support them in preventing people from becoming homeless.

Latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that more than 20,500 Victorians are homeless, including almost 780 Indigenous Australians and almost 7,000 young people.

“Homelessness is a serious issue, and the Gillard Government has made it a top priority,” Mr O’Connor said.

“We believe all Australians deserve a safe and affordable home, so they can raise families, keep kids in school, and find and hold a job.

“These Innovation Action Projects, which are part of the Victorian Homelessness Action Plan, will encourage mainstream and homelessness services to share experiences, knowledge and skills to avoid duplication, but more importantly, to ensure homeless people are able to get the support they need.

“Sadly, there are some Victorians who are struggling, and are experiencing real hardship.

“This is truly tragic and we need to do something about it – and we are.”

The projects, to be rolled out across Melbourne and regional Victoria, will target a variety of vulnerable Victorians, including young people and their families, older Australians, women and their children, Indigenous people, and those struggling in the private rental market.

Each project will offer vulnerable Victorians support in the form of skills, training and employment opportunities, long term accommodation, early intervention and prevention services, as well as mental health and other health services.

These projects will trial a new approach to delivering homelessness services which will help strengthen how the Australian and Victorian Governments support services now and into the future.

Under the $1.1 billion National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness, Victoria receives $105.59 million, including $29.54 million for A Place to Call Home, from the Australian Government.

“The National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness is part of an Australian Government partnership with the states and territories to reduce and prevent homelessness by delivering sustainable housing and keeping them connected with the community,” Mr O’Connor said.

“Under this National Partnership, both the Australian and the Victorian Governments have agreed to invest $209.69 million to deliver 22 new or expanded homelessness initiatives across the state.

“These new or expanded initiatives include services for women and children fleeing domestic violence and for prevention work for young people leaving care.

“Since 2008, we have increased funding to address homelessness by almost $5 billion, including building more than 10,000 new homes for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

“We also remain committed to our ambitious plan of halving the rate of homelessness and to providing assisted accommodation to all rough sleepers who seek it by 2020.

“I am proud that as a Federal Government we are doing all we can to better address homelessness.”