Monash Council leads unified voice to tackle homelessness

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Regional Local Government Homelessness and Social Housing Group Charter

Thirteen councils representing 2 million residents in Melbourne’s east and southeast have joined in a unified voice calling for urgent action for more social housing* to end homelessness.

They want more housing as the first step to address the often complex social and health needs of the region’s most vulnerable community members.

Providing a safe home first, as part of a broader social housing framework, is the way to stem the increase in homelessness. Only then can the compounding set of circumstances which leads to homelessness be properly addressed to enable better outcomes for vulnerable people facing extreme adversity.

Homelessness is more likely to affect people most vulnerable in our society including women and children fleeing family violence, people with a disability, people living with a mental health condition, people living in poverty and marginalised groups.

The alliance of councils has adopted a Charter to guide this campaign. The Regional Local Government Homelessness & Social Housing Charter 2020 (pdf, 1MB) was determined following a forum of CEOs and senior staff from all councils, initiated by Monash Council in November 2019 and attended by housing providers, peak bodies and the State Government. Nova, a homelessness advocate who has a lived experience of homelessness as a result of family violence, shared her powerful and moving story with forum attendees.

Councils are often the first responders to people in the community at risk of or experiencing homelessness, and provide outreach support to help community members navigate housing and community support services.

The Regional Local Government Homelessness & Social Housing Charter 2020 prioritises three regional commitments which the 13 councils will act on:

  • Work in partnership with Federal and State governments, and public and private sector partners in a coordinated approach to deliver meaningful outcomes to increase the provision of social housing and respond to homelessness in east and southeast Melbourne
  • Scope land within each LGA that has the potential to be repurposed for adaptable housing needs
  • Advocatefor inclusive housing growth including mandatory inclusionary zoning

Hear Nova's story of the lived experience of homelessness 

Note: This forum was held prior to the introduction of COVID-19 restrictions.

Social housing refers to housing owned by the State Government or by non-profit community housing providers that is rented to low-income households at either 25% (public housing) or 30% (community housing) of household income.

Charter Developed Research

Housing First for People Sleeping Rough - Practice Guide for Local Government (pdf, 2MB)

Charter Group Glossary Group - Glossary terms (pdf, 201KB)

Literature Review: Local Government Charter Group Housing First for People Sleeping Rough Project (pdf, 594KB)

Inquiry into homelessness in Australia (pdf, 2MB)

Note: The above documents can be utilised by councils, organisations or individuals but please credit and reference the Regional Local Government Homelessness & Social Housing Charter Group (2021) as the author of these pieces.

Background

The vision for the Charter, which has the working title The Regional Local Government Homelessness & Social Housing Charter 2020 came from a forum of CEOs and senior staff initiated by Monash Council. The forum’s design and facilitation was led by Andrew Hollo (CEO, Workwell) who specialises in aligning organisational efforts to solve complex problems. The group met on 26 November 2019 attended by the councils and other groups including housing providers, peak bodies, the State Government and an advocate who has a lived experience of homelessness.

The forum’s strategic and innovative focus is informed by research Monash Council commissioned through the Council to Homeless Persons:

Making a Difference – effective local government responses to homelessness (pdf, 795KB)

This research identifies that the single most powerful way councils can contribute to preventing and ending homelessness is to advocate for the increased supply of social housing across Victoria.

Read also: Stimulus Paper - Housing Targets for Regions: How feasible is this for Melbourne's South and East (pdf, 3MB)

Note: The above documents can be utilised by participating councils/interested people, but please credit and reference Monash Council as initiating and commissioning the research pieces.

The local government areas that form this collective are:

City of Casey, City of Cardinia, Frankston City Council, City of Greater Dandenong, Knox City Council, City of Kingston, Manningham City Council, City of Monash, Maroondah City Council, Mornington Peninsula Shire, City of Whitehorse, Yarra Ranges Council and Bayside Council.

This group is supported by Eastern Affordable Housing Alliance [EAHA], Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV), Eastern Region Group of Councils and the Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS).

For more information contact: Fee Harrison (Chair) on 9518 3526 or email fee.harrison@monash.vic.gov.au

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Last updated: 15 September 2021