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Increase the number and range of crisis and emergency accommodation

Recommendation 014 - In Progress

The Victorian Government increase the number and range of crisis and emergency accommodation that is available by using a wider range of service models—including head leasing of premises— with priority being given to rural, regional and remote areas.

What we are doing

In March 2016, $152 million was committed to the Family Violence Housing Blitz package to:

  • fund the construction of new units of crisis accommodation and upgrades of existing accommodation for the homeless
  • commence redevelopment of existing refuges to the new core and cluster model and to provide 24-hour staffing at more refuges
  • rapidly house women and children escaping family violence through funding housing associations to spot purchase and head lease additional properties
  • provide private rental assistance to help women and children to access safe, secure and sustainable housing in the private rental market
  • provide flexible support funding to meet the individual needs of victim survivors of family violence, including support to stay safe at home.

In September 2016, a further $24 million was announced to extend the rapid housing initiative to increase the supply of housing for people sleeping rough and the chronic homeless.

In May 2017, $133 million was announced for long-term housing, more rental assistance, improved crisis accommodation and better support for people fleeing family violence.

Where we are up to

Housing Blitz

The Housing Blitz has funded construction of 180 new units of crisis accommodation and upgrades of existing accommodation, including upgrading Melbourne City Mission's King Street premises for homeless youth and wrap around services, that opened in July 2019. Hope Street Youth and Family Services will open a ten-bed youth refuge at Melton that will be completed at the end of 2020.

The Ozanam House redevelopment was completed and opened in July 2019 providing 60 crisis, 48 transitional and 26 self-contained apartments. This accommodation is for men and women experiencing homelessness. A community centre is also located onsite providing a range of community and health services.

McAuley Family Services' 25-bed facility for homeless women and victims of violence opened in late 2016.

Core and cluster model for refuges

The 2017/18 State Budget provided funding to ensure that the remaining 13 communal refuges are transformed to a core and cluster model over four years, providing greater refuge capacity and significantly improved facilities for women and children. Land is being sourced for these 13 refuges, and the two new Aboriginal facilities.

These facilities will be located in high demand areas to ensure women and children can access the support they need. The facilities promote safety, are accessible to people with disabilities, and provide connections to community, school and work.

A statewide project control group and local user groups with sector representatives are being established to oversee this work.

Rapid housing initiatives

The Rapid Housing Assistance initiatives were completed successfully in 2016–17 with 283 properties purchased under the acquisition program and 198 properties leased under the head lease programs. In 2017–18, further expansions of the Family Violence and Homelessness Rapid Housing initiatives provided more than 240 additional head leases.

In March 2018, a further $4 million was committed to the Rapid Housing Program to ensure victim survivors have access to homes when they need them. Under the program, homes are leased from private owners by community housing agencies, which sublet them to women and children at below market rent. The program focuses on areas with high rates of family violence and offers stable accommodation for up to 12 months. An additional 124 properties will be leased in the 2019-20 financial year.

Private Rental Assistance

In addition to the initial $16 million private rental assistance funding allocated in 2016-17, a further two years' funding ($33.2 million) was made available, with $16.4 million provided to services in 2017–18. Between July and December 2017, over 2,900 clients were assisted to establish or maintain private rental accommodation.

Flexible tailored responses

Over 2016 and 2017, 5,100 Flexible Support Packages were provided to victim survivors of family violence. An evaluation of the program completed in 2017 indicated that Flexible Support Packages help victim survivors to leave and remain free from violence.

Recent investments

In the 2018/19 State Budget, the Government committed to expanding supports to enable victim survivors to gain stable housing as quickly as possible by:

  • funding up to 12 family violence refuges to continue to provide secure, after-hours crisis accommodation for women and children seeking immediate support. Funding of $27.7 million over four years will enable refuges to refer and accept women and children with the greatest need and at the highest risk;
  • providing $1.3 million in 2018-19 for additional crisis properties in the Wimmera Southern Mallee area for women facing family violence; and
  • allocating $4.1 million over two years for 120 head leased properties to continue providing additional housing options for victim survivors of family violence.

Timeframe

Forecast implementation date: 31 December 2020.

 

Who is leading the change

Department of Health and Human Services