In the lead up to the state election, Council to Homeless Persons (CHP) called for contributions exploring the Victorian response to homelessness to feature in their September 2022 edition of Parity magazine. At the heart of this edition is the collective call for access to secure, safe, and affordable housing for vulnerable households, and what needs to be put in place to achieve this.
Uniting Vic.Tas contributed three articles to this edition, the first written by Senior Manager Homelessness, Ballarat, Barwon and Western Division, Adam Liversage. ‘Homelessness in Regional Victoria’ reflects on the success of Homelessness Week as a key vehicle for awareness raising across the Ballarat region, and the opportunity for real and expansive change if funding is continued for initiatives put in place during the pandemic, such as the Homelessness 2 Home (H2H) program.
Adam’s piece shines a light on the experiences of Uniting’s frontline staff who are working with increasing demand at our homelessness entry points, and the urgent need for increased and ongoing funding to adequately support regional communities:
“In Ballarat alone, if the Entry Point were to see all of the unmet demand, those who presented and couldn’t be seen, we would have projected to have seen 2,500 people this financial year. We only have funding for just over 1,200 per year! So
far this year the Ballarat entry point has turned away over 600 people seeking our service…”
You can read Adam’s full article here.
Research recently undertaken by The Centre for Social Impact (CSI), Swinburne University of Technology, in partnership with Uniting practitioners, sought to identify outcomes for people engaged with the Homelessness to a Home (H2H) program. H2H recipients were asked about the contribution of the service to outcomes and changes in life areas, the
findings of which are presented in our second article in this edition ‘The Homelessness to a Home Program —Outcomes in Rural Victoria’, authored by Professor Erin Wilson and team.
The H2H program is based on the principles of Housing First programs. The findings of this research contribute to the growing body of evidence that Housing First is highly effective in providing housing stability for people with a history of long–term homelessness and complex needs. Many of the people surveyed spoke about how secure housing can be
transformative and provide stability in other areas of life:
“Since I moved into this unit, that gave me the stable housing I was looking for. Everything else is much easier now I have stable housing.”
“Feeling I have a support network is monumental for someone used to living in limbo. Having the security of knowing where you’re going to be next week, next month, etc. Home security is everything.”
You can read more about the findings of this research in the full article, here.
The final article contributed by Uniting Vic.Tas is an opinion piece written by Manager of Advocacy & Public Policy, Tom Johnson. Tom’s article applies a broad policy lens to these issues, exploring the scale of homelessness in Victoria, and the necessity for long–term, evidence–based policy and funding frameworks to enable substantive change. The article
outlines how Uniting continues to advocate for the expansion and establishment of long–term strategies and practices that support crisis intervention, recognising though that this can only achieve so much. Alongside this, Uniting continues to call on the Victorian Government to formally respond to the state parliamentary inquiry into homelessness, delivered in March 2021.
You can read more of Tom’s article on homelessness in Victoria here.