5 August 2021

The number of homeless people is growing in our suburbs and COVID-19 has further impacted the vulnerability of those who sleep rough without a safe place to call home.

Manningham is among 13 eastern and south eastern councils uniting to address homelessness with a best practice guide launched during Homelessness Week, the Housing First for People Sleeping Rough Practice Guide for Local Government.

According to the ABS 2016 Census*, on any given night pre-COVID-19, more than 116,000 Australians and almost 25,000 Victorians were homeless, including 7,490 across the 13 municipalities and 220 in Manningham.  

In 2019, Manningham and the other councils formed the Regional Local Government Homelessness and Social Housing Charter Group to end homelessness and advocate for more social housing. The 2016 Census found 32 per cent of Victorians without a home lived in this region.

Led by Monash Council, the Charter Group Councils recognised the growing need for suburban and local government advocacy for our most vulnerable through improved supports and more permanent and safe housing.

The municipalities include Bayside, Casey, Cardinia, Frankston, Greater Dandenong, Knox, Kingston, Manningham, Monash, Maroondah, Mornington Peninsula, Whitehorse and Yarra Ranges.

Housing First for People Sleeping Rough Practice Guide for Local Government acknowledges homelessness is a complex issue requiring a triage of support including mental health, but the first step needs to be providing a safe and secure home.

The guide outlines the problem and possible solutions based on current best practice. It draws on evidence-based research about the value of social housing across the local government sector and communities, with an emphasis on the ‘Housing First’ model.

Housing First is based on consumer choice, harm minimisation, human rights and collaboration. It relies on adequate housing supply and coordinated support services.

Manningham is advocating for systemic change to improve the supply of permanent, safe, appropriate and timely housing for those who need it, and to embed Housing First as a key foundation principle.

We believe by working together with other councils enables us to share ideas, develop best practice protocols, resources and set benchmarks.

As the closest level of government to the community, we are well-place to provide ground-level services and make a difference.

Homelessness Week is an opportunity to reflect on what having a home means and what it might be like for those who are homeless. If there’s one thing that COVID-19 has highlighted, it is the importance of a home for everyone.  

For more information social housing in Manningham, visit manningham.vic.gov.au/social-housing-and-homelessness

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