Manningham joins a unified voice to tackle homelessness

9 Sep 2020
Healthy Community

Manningham Council has joined forces with Councils representing two million residents in Melbourne’s east and south east in a unified voice calling for urgent action for more social housing* to end homelessness.

The 13 Councils want more housing as the first step to address the often complex social and health needs of the region’s most vulnerable community members.

Providing a safe home first, as part of a broader social housing framework, is the way to stem the increase in homelessness. Only then can the compounding set of circumstances which leads to homelessness be properly addressed to enable better outcomes for vulnerable people facing extreme adversity.

Homelessness is more likely to affect those most vulnerable in our society including women and children fleeing family violence, people with a disability, people living with a mental health condition, people living in poverty and marginalised groups.

The alliance of Councils have adopted a Charter to guide this campaign. The Regional Local Government Homelessness & Social Housing Charter 2020 was determined following a forum of CEOs and senior staff from all Councils in November 2019 and attended by housing providers, peak bodies and state government.

Research Monash Council commissioned through the Council to Homeless Persons identifies that the single most powerful way Councils can contribute to preventing and ending homelessness is to advocate for the increased supply of social housing across Victoria.

The Regional Local Government Homelessness & Social Housing Charter 2020 prioritises three regional commitments that Councils will act on:

  • Work in partnership with federal and state government, public and private sector partners in a coordinated approach to deliver meaningful outcomes to increase the provision of social housing and respond to homelessness in east and south east Melbourne
  • Scope land within each local government area that has the potential to be re-purposed for adaptable housing needs
  • Advocate together for inclusive housing growth including mandatory inclusionary zoning

Manningham Mayor, Cr Paul McLeish said local government service providers or officers are most often the first responders to people experiencing homelessness in local communities.

“Homelessness is a growing issue and we’re pleased to join our Council colleagues to support and advocate for change, including more social housing opportunities. Having a safe home is fundamental for everyone in our communities.

The latest census data estimated that in Manningham more than 3,300 households have been in rental stress, social housing or homelessness, which included 290 households in social housing and 220 experiencing homelessness.

“The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic will have pushed many more households into crisis situations where social housing is so important, including women and children experiencing family violence” Cr McLeish said.

The Local Government areas that form this collective include: City of Casey, City of Cardinia, Frankston City Council, City of Greater Dandenong, Knox City Council, City of Kingston, Manningham City Council, City of Monash, Maroondah City Council, Mornington Peninsula Shire, City of Whitehorse, Yarra Ranges Council and Bayside Council.

This group is supported by Eastern Affordable Housing Alliance , Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV), Eastern Region Group of Councils and the Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS).

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*Social housing refers to housing owned either by the State Government or by not-for-profit community housing providers that is rented to low income households at either 25% (public housing) or 30% (community housing) of household income.