The Victorian State Government has announced a $9.8 million package to assist the homeless population in Melbourne and provide transitional housing for those in need.
Housing Minister Martin Foley said that thirty new permanent modular homes would be built on public land by the end of the year, as reported by the ABC, “There’ll be no reason why a rough sleeper in the city cannot this evening move in towards transitional housing with a guarantee that over the next two years there’ll be permanent supported housing available for them,” he said.
The announcement comes just after the government received criticism for allowing authorities to attempt to move a camp of homeless people outside Flinders Street Station. Critics of the move said that it was an attempt by the government to remove the community before the Australian Open tennis finals.
Minister Foley said that the announcement marks a new approach that avoids sustaining homelessness, and will hopefully break the cycle. He said that once homeless people were given housing, they would have access to specialist support, such as mental health and drug and alcohol support services.
VincentCare Victoria chief executive John Blewonski told the ABC that it was important that government worked with community groups. “Until you establish someone in housing, you can’t begin to address their underlying issue, whether that’s been around family violence, whether that’s been around drug and alcohol, mental health, and so on.”
Current figures show that there is around 105, 000 homeless people across Australia, with the numbers set to increase. In New Zealand, a 2016 study found that 1 in every 120 people were homeless in 2006, with that number increasing to 1 in every 100 people by 2013.
Read more about the housing affordability crisis facing Australia and New Zealand, and how you can help here