Homelessness action welcomed by UnitingCare agencies  

homelessKildonan UnitingCare has welcomed the Victorian government’s announcement of a $109 million package to support the state’s homelessness services.

The strategy was launched at the ALP state conference on Saturday by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, who described it as the biggest-ever response to homelessness in the state’s history. The funding will assist an estimated 19,000 people experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness.

According to the latest Census, more than 22,000 people in Victoria are homeless.

The five-year investment will include 120 new or developed housing units, a new crisis centre in Melbourne’s west and 30 units for vulnerable women and children. Targeted support will also be provided for people requiring alcohol, drug and health services.

As part of the package, funding will be invested in the Families Supportive Housing model developed by Kildonan UnitingCare and Launch Housing.

The model aims to ensure vulnerable families and children have access to safe and secure housing. It will target women and children in the community who have been affected by family violence, mental illness, substance abuse and interaction with the criminal justice system.

The housing component will be complemented by a range of specialist services. Every child in the project can access early-years services to complete their schooling. At the same time, mothers can develop skills to improve financial health and wellbeing.

Kildonan UnitingCare CEO Stella Avramopoulos welcomed the state government’s support for the model.

“The Families Supportive Housing model represents a genuine partnership between community organisations, corporate bodies and government to provide a holistic wrap-around service for families in need,” she said.

“For the women we work with and know are stuck in a cycle of violence, this project represents a way out. It will keep them safe and give them dignity, providing support services that will change their lives and keep their children safe, while nurturing their wellbeing.”

UnitingCare Australia acting national director Martin J Cowling said a lack of social and affordable accommodation has contributed to the nationwide homelessness crisis. He believes it is vital for government, private and not-for-profit organisations to work together and praised the Premier for leading the way.

“Australia has the resources to ensure that everyone experiences belonging in a safe and supportive community, with appropriate housing,” Mr Cowling said.

“We congratulate Premier Daniel Andrews and express our appreciation to his government for this strong, proactive and considered response.

“We encourage the federal government and other state governments to follow suit on what has become a national crisis.”

Image: Marc Brüneke/Flickr

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