VIC Offers “Immediate” Housing To 40 Melbs Rough Sleepers In $9.8M Program

The Victorian state government has announced a $9.8 million plan to immediately offer transitional accomodation to 40 of Melbourne’s rough sleepers, with 30 new and purpose-built modular homes to be built by the end of the year. 

In a statement, Housing Minister Martin Foley said the Towards Home program “will mean there is now no reason for people to be rough sleeping at Flinders Street Station.”

Speaking to the ABC, Foley also said there’s “no reason why a rough sleeper in the city cannot this evening move in towards transitional housing,” with “permanent supported housing” on offer before 2019. 

As for what what “support” entails? Well, those who participate in the housing program will receive specialist mental health and substance abuse services.

The program will be operated in conjunction with the Brotherhood of St Laurence. The group’s executive director Tony Nicholson said the program will “make sure we don’t spend our resources on sustaining the homelessness lifestyle and instead we end homelessness in the city.”

This move represents a dramatic turnaround from the robust law enforcement solutions that’d apparently been discussed earlier in the week, which would have more or less made homelessness illegal on Melbourne’s streets. 

According to attendees of Monday’s crisis meeting on the issue, Lord Mayor Robert Doyle had already distanced himself down from that position by then. Still, this state-level response represents a massive, and positive, shift in policy. 

Source: ABC / Premier Of Victoria. 
Photo: Scott Barbour / Getty.