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1st December 2017     SUPPORT AND SAFETY HUBS STATEWIDE CONCEPT PAPER
by NIFVs

Support and Safety Hubs Statewide Concept Paper


The Statewide Concept for Support and Safety Hubs, was released  recently by the Victorian Government. The Concept outlines design features of the Hubs, including access pathways and key functions.

The next stage will be the development of the practice framework, operational model and management and government structures. These will be informed by statewide and local co-design.

 A local Hub establishment group will be developed in the coming month to establish a launch site in the North-East Melbourne area. more more

3rd August 2017     A FINANCIAL BLACK HOLE AWAITS ‘GENERATION RENT’ IN RETIREMENT
by Rob Burgess, The New Daily

The deterioration in wealth equality revealed in Tuesday’s HILDA survey should be seen as a crossroads in Australian history – either we continue down the road to inequality, or we fix the problem at its heart.

The highly respected survey showed a property-based class divide emerging due to plummeting home ownership rates in the under-40s.

That means a generation of renters will not accumulate wealth through the family home as their parents did.

That would not be a problem for ‘Generation Rent’ if, after a lifetime of renting, they could still afford a dignified retirement.

But unlike nations such as Germany and France, where renting is the norm, Australia has a welfare and retirement system still predicated on the idea of home ownership.

That’s a huge problem, because on present settings, couples or individuals who have not paid off homes by retirement will be much worse off than those who have.

Access to property ownership is no longer simply determined by hard work and enterprise – increasingly it is determined by the ‘bank of Mum and Dad’ helping the younger generation with a deposit.

A nation that once encouraged its young adults to be economically independent has, through cynical wealth-redistributing policies, forced them back into being dependent on their asset-rich parents – if, that is, they are lucky enough to have them.

The Australian dream of owning a home outright in retirement is fading fast. 
more

1st August 2017     WALK IN MY SHOES TOURS
by Council for homeless persons

As part of Homelessness Week the Council for Homeless Persons are  organising a couple of PESP Walk in My Shoes Tours (Tues 8th & Wed 9th) that are open to the public.

Please see flier attached, or here. I encourage you to circulate the info below to your networks. People from all sorts of backgrounds would find this activity of interest and benefit – local Government, community services, allied health, Centrelink, Department, Universities etc. more

1st August 2017     AUSTRALIA POST FREE 12 MONTH REDIRECTION OF MAIL SERVICE
by Australia Post

Australia Post supports victims of family violence  
Australia Post are providing a free 12 month mail redirection service to support victims of family violence. In terms of eligibility, either a letter from a support agency (on their letterhead) verifying  that the client has satisfied the agency's criteria for experiencing family violence, an intervention order or a statutory declaration from the police will be required   more

21st July 2017     PROMOTION OF SAFE SLEEPING ADVICE FOR HOMELESSNESS SECTOR
by Irene Tomasszewski Assistant Director Homelessness and Accommodation Support

Promotion of Safe Sleeping Advice for Homelessness Sector

The Commission for Children and Young People has recommended that homelessness services promote safe sleeping arrangements for infants, and the use of infant safe sleeping resources. This follows a recent child death inquiry and the tragic death of an infant. The purpose of child death inquiries is to promote continuous improvement in child protection and the safety and wellbeing of children and young people.

The department is promoting the use of the following safe sleeping resources and information. Please share this advice with staff providing homelessness support to families and infants.

  more

23rd June 2017     WHO’S RESPONSIBLE? HOUSING POLICY MISMATCHED TO OUR $6 TRILLION ASSET
by Prof J Dodson, S Sinclair and T Dalton in The Conversation

Does the Australian government have the policy, organisational and conceptual capacity to handle the country’s A$6 trillion housing stock? We ask this question in a newly released research report. The answer is critically important to both household opportunity and prosperity, and to the management of our largest national asset.

Australians’ wealth is overwhelmingly in our housing. As of late 2016, our housing stock was valued at $6 trillion. That’s nearly double the combined value of ASX capitalisation and superannuation funds.

The authors appraised the Henry Review of Taxation (2010), the National Housing Supply Council report series (2009-2013), the Productivity Commission inquiry into planning (2011), the COAG Report on Housing Supply and Affordability Reform (2012), the Financial System Inquiry (2014), the Federation Report on housing and homelessness (2014), and (albeit not a government report) the Senate Inquiry into housing affordability (2015). 

This report demonstrates weaknesses in Australia’s approach to housing and housing policymaking. There is evidence this is deliberate. For example, the Coalition members’ minority response to the 2015 Senate inquiry into affordable housing rejected almost all of its policy recommendations. Many of these would rectify some of the deficits we have identified.

The weak formal coordination in housing policy contrasts with other sectors such as energy, defence, biosecurity, disability, heritage, drugs and road safety, among others. 

The authors recommend that the Australian government reflects on the position of housing within the architecture of government. The $6 trillion national asset that housing represents deserves much better understanding of its dynamics and effects on the national economy, including productivity.

The authors argue that Australia needs a federal minister for housing, a dedicated housing portfolio, and an agency responsible for conceptualising and co-ordinating policy. The current fragmented, ad-hoc approach to housing policy seems poorly matched to the scale of the housing sector and its importance to Australia. more

23rd June 2017     SUPPORTIVE HOUSING IS CHEAPER THAN CHRONIC HOMELESSNESS
by C Parsell, University of Qld in The Conversation

It costs the state government more to keep a person chronically homeless than it costs to provide permanent supportive housing to end homelessness,  recent research shows.

Over a 12-month period, people who were chronically homeless used state government funded services that cost approximately A$48,217 each. Over another 12-month period in which they were tenants of permanent supportive housing, the same people used state government services that cost approximately A$35,117.

The significance of this cost difference is remarkable. Yes, people use A$13,100 less in government-funded services when securely housed compared to the services they used when they were chronically homeless. But, on top of that, the annual average of A$35,117 in services used by supportive housing tenants includes the A$14,329 cost of providing the housing and support.

When we provide permanent supportive housing, not only do we realise whole of government cost offsets, but the way people live their lives changes demonstrably.

The data show that when people are tenants of supportive housing, their low level criminal behaviour and reliance on crisis health and temporary accommodation services that characterised their lives while homeless reduces. For example, sustaining housing, compared to being homeless for a year, was associated with a 52 per cent reduction in criminal offending, a 54 per cent reduction in being a victim of crime, and 40 per cent reduced time spent in police custody. Their use of short term crisis accommodation reduced by 99 per cent; mental health service used declined by 65 per cent.

When people have access to housing that is safe and affordable, they no longer have to live as patients, criminals, inmates, clients, and homeless people.

Click here for the full article. more

6th March 2017     STATE GOVERNMENT RELEASES AFFORDABLE HOUSING STRATEGY
by Western Homelessness Networker

On 6 March The State Government released Homes for Victorians, its Affordable Housing Plan. This exciting document includes new policy such as:

  • A small inclusionary zoning pilot
  • Facilitating the build of 50,000 new homes a year
  • Growing social housing
  • Establishing a Vacancy tax
  • Abolishing stamp duty for new first time buyers
  • Doubling the first home owner grant in regional Victoria
  • Creating the opportunity for first home buyers to co-purchase a property with the Victorian Government
  • Improving stability for renters
more

3rd February 2017     NATIONAL LIST OF PRIVATE AND PUBLIC AOD DETOX AND REHAB SERVICES
by HYDDI

Thank you to Carol from the Homeless Youth Dual Diagnosis Initiative for providing this comprehensive list of AOD detox and rehabilitation services.  more

3rd February 2017     KEEPING WOMEN AND CHILDREN HOUSED WOMEN’S HOMELESSNESS PREVENTION PROJECT TWO YEARS, TEN CLIENT STORIES AND TEN CALLS FOR CHANGE
by Justice Connect

Justice Connect Homeless Law has recently released a detailed report based on two-years of data and insights from its Women’s Homelessness Prevention Project (WHPP), Keeping Women and Children Housed: Two years, ten client stories and ten calls for change

In its first two years, the WHPP provided legal representation (including advice, negotiation and representation at VCAT) and social work support to 102 women with 157 children who were homeless or on the brink of it. Ninety per cent of these women had experienced family violence. After two years, the WHPP has an 83% success rate for finalised matters, meaning that women avoided eviction, secured new housing without an intervening period of homelessness or resolved another tenancy legal issue (e.g. a housing debt) that was a barrier to getting safe housing. 

A WHPP client, Rema, talks about what this meant for her in this video, Stopping Homelessness Before it Starts

Informed by what they’ve learned from providing legal representation and social work support to over 100 women experiencing or at risk of homelessness, Homeless Law has identified 10 systemic changes that will reduce the risk of homelessness for Victorian women and children. You can read them here

The report states: ‘As it stands, Victoria does not have a legal system or a culture geared toward homelessness prevention and this needs to change … Evictions into homelessness must be an absolute last resort and reducing barriers to immediate re-housing an urgent priority’.

more

3rd February 2017     CALLS FOR TRANSPARENCY IN AFFORDABLE HOUSING FUNDING
by Pro Bono

The Productivity Commission has found that federal government funding for the national affordable housing agreement (NAHA) decreased from $2.2 billion in 2011/12 to $1.8 billion last financial year. 

NAHA is a federal, state and territory initiative that aims to provide all Australians with access to affordable, safe and sustainable housing.

The Productivity Commission report also found that the states and territories decreased their net funding for social housing from $4.1 billion in 2014/15 to $3.9 billion last year. 

NSW Federation of Housing Association CEO Wendy Hayhurst told Pro Bono News more resources were needed to tackle Australia’s housing crisis. 

“The treasurer [Scott Morrison] talks quite clearly about the outcomes from the current investment not meeting the challenges that there are out there. And we would agree with that,” Hayhurst said. 

“What we would say is that there is a requirement for an additional resource. 

“All organisations working both in housing and homelessness recognise the need to ensure that they’re efficient and that the programs they deliver are effective.

“We want to spend money well, but there is a real shortage of affordable housing and that can impact on how services are delivered. It’s very difficult to deliver a homelessness service if there isn’t accomodation for the person you’re delivering the support services to.”

Click here for a link to the full article. more

31st January 2017     GROWTH OF HOUSE PRICES IN AUSTRALIA
by The Economist

Some graphs developed by The Economist show the growth of house prices in Australia to be higher that those of England, Canada and the US.

House prices in London, as well as in San Francisco, Vancouver and Stockholm have risen by an average of 13% a year over the past three years, while national prices have risen by 7.5%. That is pushing affordability to its limits: between 2002 and 2012 the typical London home sold for seven times the city’s average annual salary. That figure has since risen to 12 times. 

To determine whether homes are fairly valued The Economist looks at the relationship between prices and disposable income—an indicator of affordability—and between prices and rents—a substitute for buying a home. If rising prices move these ratios above their long-run averages, then either incomes or rents are likely to rise, or house prices to fall. Across America house prices, after falling by 25% from their peak between 2007 and 2012, are now at fair value compared with rents and incomes. But thanks largely to their big cities, housing appears to be more than 40% overvalued in Australia, Britain and Canada, according to the average of our two measures.

See the attached document containing four graphs outlining the growth in house prices in Australia against England, Canada and the US. more

31st January 2017     A HOUSING AFFORDABILITY CRISIS IN REGIONAL AUSTRALIA? YES, AND HERE’S WHY
by The Conversation

The newly released annual Demographia report on housing affordability has found – once again – that Australia has some of the least affordable housing markets in the world. 

What was more surprising was that Australia had the dubious distinction of having four of the ten least-affordable housing markets covered by the survey. Melbourne was ranked the tenth-most-unaffordable housing market. Wingecarribee and Tweed Heads came in at seventh and eighth respectively.

This is sobering news given the report covers major world centres such as London and New York. And for many commentators this outcome came as a shock: how could regional Australia – which is perceived as less dynamic than the capital cities and with ample space for housing – be so unaffordable?

But the result has been signalled previously. In 2012, Port Macquarie on the New South Wales mid-north coast was named among the five least affordable housing markets globally. It was the most unaffordable housing market in Australia – beating even Sydney.

Indeed, housing researchers have been discussing the housing crisis outside our capitals since the early 1990s.

Click here for a link to the Demographia report. more

3rd January 2017     MAKE HOUSING AFFORDABLE AND CUT ROAD CONGESTION ALL AT ONCE? HERE’S A WAY
by The Conversation

Two of the most pressing problems for Australian cities are housing affordability and traffic congestion. But there is an approach to both problems that could lead to significant improvements at low cost and relatively quickly. It involves developing transit-oriented centres in conjunction with inclusionary zoning.

This form of development gives priority to housing affordability and low car use. It does so by requiring a certain proportion of permanently affordable housing and dwellings without car parking, but with strong access to local facilities. Travel is mainly by walking and public transport.

At the same time, introducing a special rate on land, similar to existing council rates based on land values, and eliminating stamp duty on property transactions would make the market more efficient, reduce budget impacts and support infrastructure provision.

These measures will in no way completely solve our problems. But they would help increase Australia’s supply of affordable housing and reduce road congestion.

Click here for a link to the full article. more

16th December 2016     HELP FOR HOMELESSNESS FALLS SHORT FOR YOUNG PEOPLE LEAVING CARE
by Anglicare Vic

The state government's $109 million plan to attack homelessness is a welcome initiative, particularly for the adult homeless, but it has a big blind spot. It fails to hit the target on the most tragic, yet most easily fixed aspect of youth homelessness.

In the past year more thanover 20,000 young people sought assistance from Victorian homeless services. Young people with backgrounds of state care feature the most heavily in these statistics. According to Swinburne University's national youth homeless survey, more than 60 per cent of homeless young people are from a background of out-of-home care. A further 35 per cent will have five or more places of abode within the first 12 months of exiting state care.
http://www.theage.com.au/comment/help-for-our-homeless-falls-short-20161113-gso406.html more

16th December 2016     STATE GOVERNMENT RELEASES 10 YEAR PLAN TO END FAMILY VIOLENCE
by Western Homelessness Network Coordinator

The State Government has released: Ending Family Violence: Victoria’s Plan for Change. The Plan outlines how the Government will deliver thee recommendations of the Royal Commission in to Family Violence to build a future where all Victorians live free from family violence, and where women and men are treated equally and respectfully. The Plan was recommended by the Royal Commission. It is focused on outcomes. It makes clear our resolute determination to end the murders and keep our children safe, to support victim survivors and stop them falling into homelessness, to build strong and resilient families, and ensure perpetrators are.

Click here for a link to the Plan.

You can monitor the progress of implementation of the Royal Commission recommendations at: http://www.vic.gov.au/familyviolence.html more

6th November 2016     HOMELESSNESS SERVICES NEED ALTERNATE FUNDING TO MEET DEMAND
by Pro Bono

A study from the University of Western Australia’s Centre for Social Impact (CSI) found between 60.6 per cent and 84.6 per cent of the homelessness sector’s income came from government.

Lead author of the study and CSI director Professor Paul Flatau said the reliance on government funding made service providers vulnerable to changes in policy, funding cuts and financial constraints.

“In particular, current levels of funding are too low to fully meet the current needs of those experiencing homelessness and help homeless people find employment and access permanent housing,” Flatau said.

The study found only a minority of services were able to fully meet demands of their clients for access to permanent housing.

Flatau told Pro Bono Australia News the strain meant many service providers were already investigating alternative funding sources, to varying degrees of success. more

12th April 2016     $572M OVER TWO YEARS TO ENACT ROYAL COMMISSION RECOMMENDATIONS
by Premier of Victoria

The State Government has allocated a $572 million statewide funding boost over two years in the 2016/17 Victorian Budget to respond to Royal Commission recommendations that must be done now – including more housing and crisis refuges, more counsellors, more prevention programs and more support for children who are victims of family violence.

This package begins to deliver 65 of the Royal Commission’s most urgent recommendations and is the first step in the long-term process to fix our broken system and change attitudes towards women.

The Labor Government’s family violence package, which puts victims at the heart of our reforms, includes:
• $152.5 million to begin a housing blitz to shelter more victims so they don’t have to choose between homelessness and returning to an abusive relationship. Work will commence on building and redeveloping family violence refuges, expanding crisis accommodation, and rapidly funding up to 130 new social housing homes. Victims will also be kept safe at home through innovative options such as help accessing the private rental market.

See the attached press release for further information. more

4th December 2015     FUNDING ANNOUNCEMENT FAMILY VIOLENCE FLEXIBLE SUPPORT PACKAGES
by Department Health and Human Services

The Victorian Government recently announced a boost for more practical support for those experiencing family violence, to help them leave a violent relationship and create a safer, more stable future.
Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos said $12 million over four years will fund Flexible Support Packages to assist with expenses faced by those escaping family violence. more

4th December 2015     EXPERTS WARN AUSTRALIAN PRIVATE RENTAL AT CRISIS POINT
by Nine news

Soaring rents are driving struggling Australians to breaking point, with suburbs once considered to be inexpensive now out of reach for many potential tenants.

Australia's first Rental Affordability Index has revealed that those looking to find rental relief have to move even further than ever from capital cities.

Last year, an estimated 1.6 million Australians struggled to pay their rent.

It's no longer just those on low incomes who are struggling to make ends meet, but also middle income earners in the private rental market.


Read more at http://www.9news.com.au/national/2015/12/02/20/02/experts-warn-australian-private-rental-market-at-crisis-point#dQDWWi5fQZJwYbo3.99
more

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