More Public Housing Units for Homeless in Victoria
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There are currently 7400 Victorians sleeping on the streets, living in cars, or squatting in vacant buildings, government figures on homelessness reveal. Among this, more than 1200 people said they had been homeless for longer than six months.
Under new bylaws, “camping” on Melbourne streets is subject to a $250 fine. Although, “camping” is not defined and rough sleepers would have to pay steep fees to reclaim confiscated property left unattended. The United Nations have said that the proposal is “discriminatory” and violates the universal declaration of human rights. “This is the first I’ve heard of [the new law]” says George, a homeless man currently “camping” in an alcove near Melbourne Town Hall with a friend and two backpacks, his worldly possessions. At a time when more than 105,000 people are homeless, crisis accommodation services are turning away more than half of those seeking new accommodation, mostly due to a lack of accommodation, and public housing stock has declined.
1,700 more social housing homes are needed each year over the next 20 years to maintain social housing at its current 3.5 per cent share of the total homes in Victoria. This is an increase of over 30,000 social homes over the next two decades. Double this amount of social housing homes is needed over the next 20 years if lower income households, currently facing housing stress in the private rental market, are to have affordable housing. The total waiting list has now hit 34,726 applications, highlighting the immense public housing system. The Housing Minister Martin Foley accused the previous government of cutting $470 million from Victoria’s social and public housing system.
In signing this petition, you will be helping to encourage Robert Doyle (current Lord Mayor of Melbourne elected in 2008) to facilitate and fund the construction of more public housing units to accommodate for the 74% increase in homeless individuals sleeping rough in Melbourne.
Australian Council of Social Service 2017, Housing and Homelessness, accessed 1 September 2017, <http://www.acoss.org.au/housing-homelessness/>
Domain 2017, Melbourne renting: Rent at record highs, rising faster than incomes and vacant, Victoria, accessed 1 September 2017, <https://www.domain.com.au/news/melbourne-renting-rent-at-record-highs-rising-faster-than-incomes-and-vacant-20170209-gu7wpm/>
Hancook, J 2017, ‘Melbourne's housing crisis worse in suburbs than CBD, welfare agencies say’, ABC News, 5 August, pp. 1-4.
Mundell, M 2017, ‘Homeless in Melbourne: 'One small act of kindness can change a person's day'’, The Guardian, 8 August, pp. 1-4.
Victorian Housing Commission 2017, Public Housing Waiting List, Victoria, accessed 1 September 2017, <http://www.housing.vic.gov.au/public-housing-waiting-list>
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