Ms VAGHELA (Western Metropolitan) (12:34): (1516) My constituency question is directed to the Minister for Planning, Minister for Housing and Minister for Child Protection, the Honourable Richard Wynne. My question relates to the portfolio responsibility of housing.
COVID-19 has highlighted how important stable housing is for all Victorians. I am proud to be a part of the Andrews Labor government, which is extending the transition out of emergency hotel accommodation for Victorians experiencing homelessness. This new $66 million in funding will help up to 250 families with children to access secure, stable housing. Nearly 1600 Victorians experiencing homelessness have already been provided with stable homes and support through the $150 million From Homelessness to a Home program, and work to identify additional housing is continuing every day.
My question to the minister is: can the minister please provide me with an update on how residents of the Western Metropolitan Region who are facing homelessness will benefit from this particular initiative?
Richard Wynne MP, Minister for Housing (23 December 2021):
I thank Ms Vaghela, Member for Western Metropolitan, for her question and acknowledgement of the Victorian Government’s significant commitment to breaking the cycle of homelessness.
The Victorian Government is investing record amounts in housing, and homelessness programs across the state, including the landmark $5.3 billion Big Housing Build that will deliver over 12,000 new homes across the state. The local government areas of Maribyrnong, Brimbank, Hume, and Wyndham, which all overlap the Western Metropolitan Region, have been identified as priority local government areas for Big Housing Build investment. Fast-start sites are underway now, including the redevelopment of Dunlop Avenue, Ascot Vale, which will deliver 200 social and affordable homes across six buildings.
The outcome of the Social Housing Growth Fund ‘Rapid Grants Round’ was recently announced, which will deliver 2,352 new social homes across Victoria, in 38 local government areas, including those within the Western Metropolitan Region, with construction commencing in 2021.
As you noted, 1,845 vulnerable Victorian households housed in hotel accommodation are being supported to move into stable accommodation under our $150 million From Homelessness to a Home program. People eligible for the program are receiving support packages, secure housing, and a new opportunity to thrive and maintain strong links in their communities.
The Victorian Government has also extended the transition out of emergency hotel accommodation for Victorians who have experienced homelessness during lockdowns. On 29 October 2021, as you noted, the Victorian Government announced an investment of $66 million to support up to 250 families to exit emergency accommodation into homes between January and June 2022. In addition, families will receive multidisciplinary support that is targeted and individualised to address their unique needs.
This new program, Homes for Families, is in its early stages of development, and a procurement process will commence soon to appoint service providers to deliver the program. Once appointed, agencies will begin working with families who require housing to identify their housing preferences and support needs. Preferred housing locations will be determined by families on an individual basis and will be influenced by their unique circumstances. Benefits to homeless people from specific areas will become evident once the program has commenced and individual assessments of families can be undertaken.
These programs are in addition to ongoing investments in homelessness services for all Victorians at risk of or experiencing homelessness.
I thank the Member for Western Metropolitan again for her question and her support for the housing and homelessness sector across the state.