Inquiry into homelessness in Victoria - 2020
In 2020 the Victorian Legislative Council Legal and Social Issues Committee conducted an inquiry into the state of homelessness in Victoria. The terms of reference directed the Committee to consider the changing scale and nature of homelessness across Victoria, the social, economic and policy factors that impact on homelessness, and government policies and practices that influence service delivery.
Based on our experience delivering services to people experiencing homelessness, The Salvation Army’s submission highlighted key issues affecting the groups of people who are most vulnerable to homelessness. Women over 55, First Nations people, veterans and people impacted by family and domestic violence are some of those who are most likely to become entrenched in homelessness without significant intervention. We also identified factors that can either exacerbate or alleviate the effects of homelessness, such as housing affordability, and outlined factors that we believe are required to address homelessness.
As well as drawing on our service delivery experience, we also consulted with and included the voices of people who have experienced homelessness. We thank those involved for sharing their stories. As we stated in our submission, we envision an Australia where all people have adequate and stable incomes, can afford and sustain housing, and are healthy and connected to community.
The Salvation Army recognises the need for leadership and a taskforce on homelessness to end rough sleeping in Victoria by 2024. It is vital that the voices of those with a lived experience of homelessness are included to strengthen homelessness strategies and support services. This is particularly important when developing policies for vulnerable groups of people, and in response to housing affordability and the provision of adequate and appropriate housing.
The Committee report
In March 2021 the Committee tabled the final report, which contained 26 findings and 56 recommendations. The Salvation Army continues to advocate for and support community members with a lived experience of homelessness in Victoria and the rest of Australia.