Homelessness initiatives (7.05.2014)

Written on the 13 May 2014


Ms CROZIER (Southern Metropolitan) -- My question is to the Minister for Housing, Ms Lovell, and I ask: can the minister update the house on how the 2014-15 Victorian state budget assists the housing and homelessness sector to provide beneficial outcomes for vulnerable Victorians?

 

Hon. W. A. LOVELL (Minister for Housing) -- I thank the member for her question and her ongoing interest in those vulnerable Victorians who are less fortunate than we are. I am pleased to say that in this year's budget we have committed $201.9 million to support social housing and homelessness services. This comprises $124.4 million over four years to provide certainty for the sector regarding initiatives that are state funded under the national partnership agreement on homelessness.

These include targeted responses to people sleeping rough, specialist support to enable children to access education, improved family violence responses, improved support for young people through the employment of dual-diagnosis workers, improved support for young people leaving care, support for people exiting prison and support for people to maintain tenancies.

This year's budget also includes $65 million to provide upgrades and maintenance to over 9500 public housing properties. These properties were ignored by the former government. It allowed them to decay to a point that the Auditor-General said they were about to reach the end of their usable life span. We will invest in these properties to keep them in the system to ensure that they can continue to house vulnerable Victorians.

There is also $5 million for operational funding for the Shepparton Youth Foyer, and I am absolutely delighted to have been able to announce that funding.

The Shepparton Youth Foyer will support 40 young people in Shepparton who are homeless or at risk of homelessness and who want to continue their study. It will assist them to change the direction of their lives.

The budget also commits $7.4 million to the state component of the social and community services workers agreement. Pages 88 and 89 of budget paper 4 outline our $1.1 billion pipeline of acquisitions, including $215 million in 2014-15. This is made up of $50 million that is being spent on some of the existing projects we have under way and $165 million for new acquisitions and projects.

The budget paper 3 outputs outline our targets for assisting people. We aim to assist around 100 000 people who are at risk of or are experiencing homelessness. We will provide support to more than 160 000 tenants through the provision of 77 000 long-term household assistance packages.

We will also provide around 12 000 bond loans to assist those who want to access the private rental market, and we will assist 9000 households with crisis housing. This is a good budget for housing and homelessness, and I am delighted to have been able to deliver it.


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