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Homeless crisis

SOUTH Gippslanders on low incomes are being left homeless due to a lack of affordable housing in the region.
Family violence and other unsafe living conditions contribute to more than 30 percent of homeless cases in wider Gippsland.
Twenty-five percent of people assisted by UnitingCare were aged between 15 and 24, and 840 people who accessed the service did not have an income.
More than 5400 people presented to Gippsland’s homelessness services in 2015-16 alone.
There are no crisis accommodation options such as refuges in South Gippsland or Bass Coast, leaving people with no choice but to sleep on friends’ couches or in cars.
Gippsland South MLA Danny O’Brien said homelessness in the region was a concern.
“In rural areas like South Gippsland, homelessness is often hidden – people are couch surfing, staying in temporary accommodation or even sleeping in their cars,” he said.
“The government needs to work hard to reach those people and ensure they have access to services including mental health, family violence and drug and alcohol rehab, as these are often the underlying cause of homelessness.”
The lack of affordable housing for people on low incomes was a growing concern, Suhail Awn, team leader, Housing Support Services Gippsland, SalvoCare Eastern, Leongatha, said.
He said homelessness in South Gippsland and Bass Coast was more prevalent than most people believed it was.
“There needs to be more houses built. The current rental market does not cater to people on low incomes and the public housing stocks are dwindling,” he said.
Mr Awn said people end up homeless in South Gippsland and Bass Coast shires for many reasons.
“People experience homelessness due to a change in relationship status, experiencing family violence, loss of employment, a lack of affordable housing, and many such unforseeable circumstances,” he said.
“Homelessness can affect anybody at any point in time and there is no particular demographic that experiences homelessness in particular.”
SalvoCare helps people facing homelessness by organising crisis accommodation at caravan parks, motels and any other crisis accommodation option available.
“We also provide case management support for people who require support and advocacy for people to obtain rental properties and complete applications for public housing,” Mr Awn said.
Korumburra’s Milpara Community House assists homeless people in the Korumburra area, with many couch surfing or living in their vehicle.
“We have a number of people in these types of circumstances,” house manager Jenni Keerie sid.
“It is only with return visits to the house, access to the foodbank and conversation with staff and/or volunteers that their situation becomes apparent.”
Mr O’Brien said his focus was on trying to create the right local economic environment so there were jobs for local residents and they could afford their own housing.
“Unfortunately there will always be people who fall through the cracks and we have a generous safety net for most, but there are concerns about public housing waiting lists,” he said.
“We actually reduced the size of the list when in government and will take policies to the next election to continue reducing that list.”
South Gippsland Shire Council does not provide accommodation for homelessness.
However in the case of an emergency or single incident, such as a house fire, when requested, council assists displaced residents by putting them in contact with agencies that can provide immediate emergency accommodation.
Council does have a role in providing temporary immediate accommodation in the event of an emergency.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=22802

Posted by on Oct 10 2017. Filed under Featured, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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