The Salvation Army welcomes the Andrews Government’s weekend announcement of $109 million to support people experiencing, and at risk of, homelessness.
The Salvation Army has long advocated for housing and support to be offered to vulnerable members of our society.
We are particularly pleased to see funding specifically dedicated to supporting young people leaving care.
Last year in our State Budget Submission, The Salvation Army called for a Continuing Care Package to support young people into independence. Our package called for subsidised housing until 25 years of age and support to help care leavers build the living skills they need to survive.
The Victorian Government’s plan to provide $10 million to subsidise housing costs for care leavers until they are 21 is a great step in this direction. We urge the Government to complement this funding with support to help these young people develop the living skills they need and give them the best chance possible at living independently.
Increased access to mental health, alcohol and drug services and targeted support for rough sleepers and people with complex needs is also very welcome. People who have experienced long term homelessness need holistic support to sustain housing. This funding will help make that a reality.
Finally, The Salvation Army welcomes the Government’s emphasis on increasing access to housing. In the absence of sufficient social housing, we need new ways to gain vulnerable and low income households access to the private market. Schemes like leasing not only increase access but create flexibility to provide housing and support in place, allowing services to help people keep connections to community.
We believe this is a comprehensive package that allows support to be targeted across the homelessness spectrum, towards those currently experiencing crisis and those not yet in crisis, but at risk.
This package is an exciting precursor to the Victorian Government’s anticipated Affordable Housing Strategy and shows leadership in the absence of a Commonwealth commitment to refund the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness. We look forward to working with the Victorian Government to ensure vulnerable households are supported.