Housing and Homelessness
Housing has an important influence on people’s lives and communities. As well as meeting a basic human need for shelter, it affects the quality of family life, and the way in which people connect to their community. The availability of secure, well located affordable housing provides pathways to employment and education, supports choices, builds strong, connected and sustainable communities and provides opportunities to participate in community life. Housing is one of the universal determinants of health and wellbeing.
Melbourne’s west has 12 per cent of the Victoria’s homeless population. The 2011 Census revealed a total of 2,782 homeless people were living in Melbourne’s west, with 1,336 people living in ‘severely’ crowded dwellings and 225 people living in boarding houses. The problem is most acute in Brimbank, followed by Maribyrnong, Wyndham and Melton.
Stakeholders in Melbourne’s west recognise that homelessness is not just a housing problem—its causes are many and varied. Homelessness has many drivers and causes, including the shortage of affordable housing, long term unemployment, mental health issues, substance abuse and family and relationship breakdown. Among women, domestic and family violence is the main reason for seeking help from specialist homelessness services.
To better address issues of homelessness in Melbourne’s west, there is a need for investment in strategies that focus on key transition points and life events and investment in services that can intervene early to prevent homelessness. This includes increasing support for people in public and private rental housing to maintain their tenancies, assisting young people to remain connected with their families, and helping women and children who experience domestic violence to stay safely in the family home.
Improved funding support for specialist homelessness services within the region as well as an increase in the supply of affordable housing and specialist housing models that link accommodation and support is critical to reducing homelessness. Partnerships between the Victorian Government, the region’s local governments, housing support agencies and community groups can facilitate the necessary investments as well as the development of more community housing and crisis accommodation throughout Melbourne’s west.
We want to ensure a vibrant and sustainable future for Melbourne’s west, so residential housing options in the region will need to cater for people of all age groups and backgrounds. In the years ahead we must increase this region’s proportion of housing that allows full access and use by all occupants and visitors, including those who need to use a wheelchair, or who have acquired brain injury, balance problems, reduced limb functioning or temporary immobility due to accidents and illness, as well as parents or carers with young children. This would be greatly assisted by the Australian Building Code Board to incorporating into the Building Code of Australia a requirement that a percentage of all multi-unit development is adaptable housing and the Victorian Government creating a regulatory framework for adaptable housing.
The way in which housing relates to liveability—for example, through quality design and contribution to neighbourhood character—as well as how housing relates to environmentally sustainable development in Melbourne’s west is picked up in the Sustained Liveability thread.
To learn more about the targets, priority actions and responsibilities for advancing Community Wellbeing in Melbourne’s west, please download a copy of the Western Agenda (links below).
If you would like to discuss Community Wellbeing with LeadWest, please contact us.
|Feb 18, 2013||Western Agenda 2012-2016 Part 1||5.39 MB|
|Feb 18, 2013||Western Agenda 2012-2016 Part 2||8.14 MB|