Launch Housing welcomes renewed funding for rental assistance program, but calls for more to address homelessness
Launch Housing welcomes renewed funding for the life-changing Private Rental Assistance Program announced in the Victorian Budget yesterday.
The Victorian Government has committed ongoing funding for the program for the next two years.
Launch Housing CEO Bevan Warner said the program, delivered by Launch Housing among other homelessness organisations, is often life-changing for those who access it.
“In the past 12 months Launch Housing has been able to assist almost 1,300 people to keep or obtain a secure rental property through the Private Rental Assistance Program,” Bevan said.
“This program helps people 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 and advice on things like rental applications.
“Many of those who access the program are either experiencing homelessness or are on the brink of homelessness. Many were living in unaffordable, unsafe, unstable or crowded properties, on the streets or in their cars. The majority have been forced into these circumstances as a result of family violence, health issues or unemployment.”
Bevan said with 90 requests for homelessness assistance going unmet every day in Victoria[i], it’s disappointing to see the Budget provide no additional funding for programs to support people experiencing homelessness.
“Last financial year we supported more than 15,000 people who were experiencing or at risk of homelessness, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Close to 25,000 Victorians experience homelessness on any given night, and many more are at risk of becoming homeless,” Bevan said.
“For us to make real progress towards ending homelessness, we need greater investment in a wide range of housing and support options.”
Bevan said more funding for permanent supportive housing and crisis accommodation was vital.
“Right now, we urgently need more permanent supportive housing options like our Elizabeth Street Common Ground. It’s a proven approach which combines good quality permanent housing and tailored support services for individuals and families who have experienced chronic homelessness,” Bevan said.
“We also desperately need more crisis accommodation. On any given night 1,123 people, many of whom are women and children, are sleeping rough in Victoria in places such as cars and under bridges. We need to be able to quickly find somewhere safe for people to stay in response to their immediate crisis.
“Fast, supported rehousing options such as our Melbourne Street to Home and Rough Sleepers Initiative are essential for helping address the acute need for affordable, safe housing. But we won’t be able to deliver the full level of support required without increased Government backing.”
For more on Elizabeth Street Common Ground.
About Launch Housing
Launch Housing is a Melbourne based, secular and independent community agency whose mission is to end homelessness. It provides high quality housing, support, education and employment services to thousands of people across 14 sites in metropolitan Melbourne.