Adjournment: Homelessness services
My adjournment manner tonight is for the Minister for Housing, and my ask is that he urgently reverses the funding cuts that have been handed down to homelessness services this week and increases ongoing funding for Victoria’s homelessness services. This week is Homelessness Week, and this year’s theme is ‘To end homelessness we need a plan’, but this year the government’s plan appears to be cutting funding for our state’s hardworking homelessness services.
I was extremely concerned today to hear that our homelessness services have just been given yet another cut to their funding, and it sounds like this has occurred without warning to the services. I have heard from frontline services that they were only informed yesterday of the funding cut, which has immediate impacts on their services and will mean dozens, if not more, families and children will have no place to call home within days. The cut has slashed funding to emergency accommodation by up to a third, if not more. It means dozens of families, women and children as well as individuals, are being threatened with immediate homelessness, and many more will be turned away at the door when seeking emergency accommodation. Housing is essential for women fleeing family violence, yet here is a decision that will leave women and children in the cold. Our housing and homelessness services do incredible work, housing the thousands of people who present to them for housing assistance every year, but they have increasingly been doing more with less as Victoria’s housing crisis worsens and the government continues to cut funding to frontline services.
Early this year I and many services were disappointed to hear that the government had effectively axed the successful From Homelessness to a Home program by allocating it no further funding in the state’s budget. While the government later backtracked on this decision and announced it had found the money to extend it, I have heard that some services are preparing to exit their clients under the program over the next few months due to funding fears. The news of the funding cuts today is yet another blow to people experiencing or at risk of homelessness. Victoria’s severe shortages of affordable housing means services are already struggling to find suitable accommodation for their clients, often having to resort to motels and rooming houses. The funding cut will further limit their ability to secure emergency accommodation options and force even more Victorians into homelessness. Our frontline homelessness services should have ongoing sustainable funding and a strong supply of affordable housing options so that everybody who presents to them can be offered a long-term home. This week’s funding cut is the exact opposite of an ending homelessness plan and will only worsen Victoria’s housing and homelessness crisis. I ask the minister to urgently reverse this week’s funding cut for Victoria’s homelessness services and guarantee ongoing funding for frontline housing services.