Addressing Homelessness Within Wendouree – Ministerial Response
Scroll down for the Minister’s response, or click here to discover more about how we’re working for Wendouree.
Original constituency question from Juliana Addison MP to Parliament –
My constituency question is directed to the Minister for Housing.
Would the minister please provide an update on what the Andrews Labor government is doing to assist people who find themselves homeless or who are at risk of homelessness?
Recently I attended a forum facilitated by Committee for Ballarat Future Shapers program participants Rochelle Kirkham, Fiona Murphy and Pam Sutcliffe called ‘Ballarat, where are you sleeping tonight?’ at the Ballarat Tech School. The forum addressed issues that contribute to people experiencing insecure and precarious housing and homelessness. The forum brought together frontline service providers and community organisations, including Uniting Ballarat, Breezeway, the Salvos, the Ballarat Foundation, Compassionate Ballarat and Federation Uni, to promote action across our community to prevent homelessness.
Thank you to the passionate advocates, the dedicated workers and the community members who participated, particularly Renee, who shared her lived experience—a powerful example of how homelessness can be overcome. I commend the organisers.
Response from the Hon Richard Wynne MP, Minister for Housing & Minister for Child Protection (23rd Dec 2021) –
I thank Ms Addison, Member Wendouree, for her question. The Victorian Government is very supportive of the work the Committee for Ballarat Future Shapers does. Please extend my thanks for organising the forum ‘Ballarat, where are you sleeping tonight?’.
The Victorian Government is committed to addressing homelessness within the Wendouree electorate and is working with local agencies to deliver coordinated homelessness and housing assistance.
In 2021-2022, Specialist Homelessness Services in the Central Highlands, which includes the Wendouree area, has to date received funding of $12.5 million. This funding is used to break the cycle of homelessness by intervening early, getting people housed quickly, and ensuring the homelessness service system remains responsive to client needs.
Additionally, during the pandemic, extra support was provided for people experiencing homelessness to be housed in emergency hotel accommodation. In September 2021, at the peak of the pandemic, 42 clients (25 families) were accommodated in hotels in the Wendouree region, as part of this response.
The Victorian Government is committed to breaking the cycle of homelessness by achieving tangible and lasting outcomes. Through a record investment of $5.3 billion over four years, the Victorian Government will grow social housing stock by 10 per cent. The Big Housing Build is the largest investment in social and affordable housing in Australia’s history, delivering over 12,000 new homes, of which 25 per cent will be in regional areas, including Wendouree.
On 21 June 2021, Delacombe was announced as one of the latest areas to be identified for investment through the Big Housing Build. The $50.3 million development is expected to deliver more than 150 new social and affordable homes. The homes will be a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom energy efficient and environmentally sustainable homes. Construction is expected to be completed by 2026, and any residents required to relocate will have the choice to return to a property that meets their household requirements.
The Victorian Government is also developing a Ten-Year Social and Affordable Housing Strategy to complement the Big Housing Build and position the housing system for the long term, so all Victorians have access to safe, affordable, and appropriate housing. Input into the draft strategy came from a wide range of stakeholders, including housing and homelessness providers, local councils, and the private sector.
I thank the member for her question and for her continuous work in addressing homelessness within the Wendouree area.