Uniting Vic.Tas CEO, Bronwyn Pike today called on the major political parties in the upcoming Victorian Election to commit to an intergenerational step–change in funding social housing and homelessness services.
Ms Pike made the call as Uniting launched its Victorian election brief on housing and homelessness.
The brief calls on the incoming government to address homelessness and deliver more social housing across Victoria.
“Victoria is in the midst of a housing crisis, driven by long–term underinvestment in social housing and exacerbated by the rising cost of living and increasing poverty. Homelessness services, like those provided by Uniting and other community housing organisations are now stretched beyond sustainable limits,” she said.
“Victoria is at a fork in the road – we must act now or our homelessness and social housing emergency will deepen.”
Ms Pike said an incoming government must commit to serious and sustained social housing construction and a response to homelessness founded on Housing First principles, like the Homeless to a Home (H2H) program.
“Victoria‘s proportion of social housing is 30 per cent less than the national average of 4.2 per cent,” she said.
“Victoria has historically underspent on social and affordable housing. While programs such as the Big Housing Build are significant, it is a one–off program that won’t seriously turn around the homelessness crisis on its own.
“We need 60,000 new public and community homes by 2031, which demands an ongoing commitment.
“With evidence consistently showing homelessness disproportionately affects women, Indigenous Victorians, youth, and those suffering mental health problems, we want all sides of politics to commit to evidence–based homelessness programs.”
Uniting has also continued to call on the Victorian Government to respond to the recommendations of the Parliamentary Inquiry into Homelessness, which delivered its report in March last year. This report delivered 37 recommendations all of which the government has yet to respond.
Read our full brief here.