Media Release by The Hon Tanya Pibersek MP

St Kilda crisis centre reborn thanks to joint investment

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon Richard Wynne MLA, Victorian Minister for Housing

A new crisis accommodation centre in St Kilda will help to improve the lives of vulnerable Victorians experiencing homelessness in inner Melbourne.

Federal Housing Minister Tanya Plibersek today joined Victorian Housing Minister Richard Wynne, federal member for Melbourne Ports Michael Danby, representatives from the Salvation Army and philanthropic sector to officially open the Salvation Army centre for young people and families.

Total cost of the facility is $7.3 million which is comprised of the following contributions:

  • $2.3 million from the Australian Government through the Nation Building Economic Stimulus Plan
  • $2 million from the Victorian Government through the Department of Human Services
  • $3 million from a range of philanthropic contributors including Peter Fox and Margaret Jackson who coordinated and contributed to the fundraising appeal; and Mr and Mrs John and Betty Laidlaw who contributed a substantial proportion towards this total.

The Upton Road building features an administration wing, 11 one-bedroom units for single people and couples and two four-bedroom units for families, including extended families. It also includes an outdoor recreation area and two secure outdoor children’s playgrounds, linked to the family units.

The centre includes a broad range of environmentally friendly features ensuring a six star energy rating. It will be staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week by Salvation Army staff.

Ms Plibersek said the Rudd Labor Government was working together with the Brumby Labor Government to support vulnerable Victorians, which was why the new Salvation Army centre in Upton Road was so important.

“This new centre replaces the old, smaller and outdated centre in Grey Street, and will significantly increase the service’s capabilities and the quality of the accommodation,” Ms Plibersek said.

“I am delighted that the Rudd and Brumby Governments are working together with the Salvation Army to deliver this very important service for people who are homeless in Melbourne.”

Ms Plibersek and Mr Wynne also announced the new Street to Home project, an innovative new program to help long term homeless Victorians in the Melbourne CBD and surrounding suburbs.

The $3.5 million Street to Home initiative is jointly funded by the Rudd and Brumby Labor Governments through the $1.1 billion National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness.

“Victoria is widely acknowledged as having one of the best homelessness support services in Australia, but we know that more can be done,” Mr Wynne said.

“Tackling the issue of people sleeping rough requires new ways of thinking and engaging people and that’s what Street to Home is all about.”

“The initiative is an innovative way to assist long term homeless people and is based on international models that have been adapted in other capital cities in Australia.”

Federal Member for Melbourne Ports Michael Danby said today’s opening demonstrates the Australian Government’s commitment to halving homelessness by 2020.

“The extra accommodation made available through this new crisis centre means that more people at risk in the community will be able to access the support they need,” Mr Danby said.

The outreach service, to be operated by HomeGround Services in partnership with Salvation Army Crisis and Adult Services, will identify and assist the most vulnerable people and offer a range of relevant supports including living skills and tenancy support to assist them with long term housing.

The Street to Home partnership will also draw on the expertise of a wide range of leading homelessness and housing agencies across Melbourne, including Royal District Nursing Service which will provide health expertise crucial to improving the wellbeing of rough sleepers.

It is expected that the new service, due to start in July this year, will be able to offer assistance to around 350 rough sleepers over the next three years.