Homelessness (8.8.2018)

Written on the 8 August 2018


8 August 2018

COUNCIL 

Adjournment 

GEORGIE CROZIER (LIB - Southern Metropolitan)

 

My adjournment matter is for the attention of the Minister for Housing, Disability and Ageing, Minister Foley in the other place. As many of us know, it is Homelessness Week. I know Ms Bath is in the chamber tonight, and I was with her last week down in the Gippsland area speaking to homeless services and people who have very real concerns for that community in relation to the numbers of people who are homeless.

But I am seeing again and again this week a number of articles that are raising the issue, which I think is a very good thing. It is a stark reminder to all of us, in the midst of winter on a cold August night, of some of the issues that many, many homeless people have. I am alarmed to hear the numbers of young people coming out of out-of-home care who are ending up on the streets and homeless, but there are cohorts of all ages. There are single women over the age of 50; I know that we have heard that very alarming numbers of these women are becoming more and more prevalent on the streets and homeless. And there are women fleeing family violence and those children who are with those women. I acknowledge the work that many of the agencies are doing to address that issue, and the government has obviously put some investment into that area as well.

But there is one other cohort that is also not spoken about very often. It is men. An article I read today says they face long queues for housing and for services to assist them with their homeless status. I was in St Kilda at the Sacred Heart Mission assisting with their breakfast program on Monday morning and the overwhelming majority of those visiting Sacred Heart's services were men. If you speak to all of the support workers there, they will talk about the numbers of men who are coming in.

What I am asking the minister to do is to find out from the department the actual number of men who are homeless, who are sleeping rough or on the streets and to provide that number because I think there is a very large hidden number of many, many men who are sometimes forgotten in this debate. I would like to understand the prevalence of homeless men and how many men this state is dealing with who are in that scenario.

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