Launch Housing Spring News 2019

From the CEO: Bevan Warner

Dear Supporters,

Thank you for your continued support.

We know homelessness is getting worse not better, but words alone won’t change this.

We need to take action, scale up solutions that work, and get the attention of decision makers and influencers in our communities to make measurable strides toward ending homelessness.

In this edition you’ll see how we’re doing just that. We provided a submission to the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System alongside a social media campaign that reached more than 500,000 people across Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

We supported clients and tenants to speak directly to the community, including on ABC Radio and created a variety of materials to inform the policy debate.

Meanwhile, the launch of our tiny homes project was covered by all major television and radio stations. Tenants Deborah and Paul shared their stories on ABC, SBS and others, and in social media that has been shared extensively. Most recently, the project featured on Channel Nine’s The Block. 

Change is possible when the community gets involved. We can only do this with the support of people like you.

Thank you,

Bevan Warner
Chief Executive Officer


Our tiny homes make their debut

On 5 August, to kick off Homelessness Week, we unveiled the first phase of our Harris Transportable Housing Project.

We were joined by more than 60 guests in Maidstone, where six people have moved into the first six of 57 tiny homes. Everyone was welcomed by Deborah (see video below), who spoke of the impact of having a permanent place to call home for the first time since she was a child.

Victorian Minister for Housing, Richard Wynne, and Victorian Minister for Consumer Affairs, Marlene Kairouz, helped celebrate the launch and acknowledge the unique partnership between Launch Housing, philanthropists Geoff and Brad Harris, and the State Government.

(Image: Bevan Warner Chief Executive Officer at Launch Housing addresses the media at the first tiny homes site)

Launch Housing’s Property and Tenancy Manager, Darren Bayley, said these tiny homes have already made a substantial impact on the lives of the first six tenants.

“To see the transformation that’s occurred in some of these people, even in just a couple of months, has been amazing.”

Using vacant VicRoads land, this project demonstrates how unused land can be repurposed to create safe, stable homes.

There’s around 195 hectares of government land sitting empty across Melbourne, which could host more than enough homes to end rough sleeping. If governments at all levels unlocked some of this land, projects such as the Harris Transportable Housing Project could be scaled up to deliver housing solutions that the market wouldn’t otherwise provide.

We’re working hard to secure more funding and land to create more homes like these for people experiencing homelessness across Victoria.

Watch Deborah’s Story. 


Private Rental Assistance Program re-funded

Earlier this year, the Victorian Government committed to re-fund our Private Rental Assistance Program (PRAP) for two years. PRAP helps people to find or keep a safe and secure roof over their heads, by providing financial support, such as helping cover the cost of rent in advance, bond or moving costs, and practical support for things like rental applications.

For Maya (pictured), the program provided the support she needed to rebuild her life after family violence.

“Because I was without a home and had no fixed address, no other homelessness or housing services were able to help me. I was close to sleeping in my car. I was caught in a loop and that was overwhelmingly depressing. It really challenged my mental health,” she said.

“Housing is a primal need, and especially as a parent, you want to provide a safe home for your child.”
– Maya, PRAP client

Many of our clients, like Maya, seek support as a result of family violence, health issues or unemployment. “The feeling of having a safe and secure place to call home is impossible to put into words. It’s beyond articulation. I’ve got safety, stability and security that I otherwise wouldn’t have had,” Maya said.

The Private Rental Assistance Program can be life-changing. For those who are on the brink of homelessness it is a priceless intervention.

Housing is good mental healthcare

Launch Housing recognises that safe, stable housing is critical for the prevention of and recovery from mental ill-health.

So to coincide with the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System, we’ve been advocating for our mental health and housing systems to unite and work better to protect people experiencing mental illness and homelessness.

In January, we submitted recommendations to the Terms of Reference for the Royal Commission. In July, we lodged a submission to the Commission and launched a social media campaign to coincide with public hearings across the state.

We also urged the Commission to recognise and privilege the experience, expertise and voice of people with a lived experience and prioritise the specific issues of high-needs groups in Victoria.

Alongside our submission, we promoted our message far and wide with a new social media and media campaign to highlight the importance of a safe, stable home for people experiencing a mental illness.

The digital campaign featured people with an experience of homelessness and mental illness, as well as our frontline staff.

The Commission plans to deliver an interim report in November 2019 and a final report by October 2020.

We are calling for the Commission to recommend:

  1. More preventive programs to sustain private rental when someone has a mental health episode
  2. More permanent supportive housing so people with a mental illness can recover
  3. More step-down programs that support timely transition to housing when exiting hospital.

Read our submission and learn why housing is good mental healthcare here.

List with an agency that gives back…

Have you heard of our social enterprise HomeGround Real Estate? HomeGround Real Estate is a non-profit real estate agency operated by Launch Housing. This not-for-profit real estate agency is committed to providing landlords and tenants with a professional property management service, while reinvesting our revenue back into the community.

Thank you for your support this winter

This winter, you made a difference. With your support we will be able to continue to provide the vital services that are key to our mission to end homelessness.

Your generous contributions provide people, like Gerry, with the dignity and respect that every person deserves.

Thank you for putting your trust in the work that we do and making the powerful decision to support some of the most disadvantaged members of our community.

(Image: Support worker Wayne and Gerry our client who now lives in the Harris Transportable Housing Project)

Get Involved

Australia’s housing crisis is getting worse, with 116,000 Australians experiencing homelessness on any given night.

Donate now to end homelessness.