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Housing and homelessness

Housing and Homelessness

Frequently Asked Questions


I’m currently experiencing or at risk of homelessness  – where can I get help?

Call the Victorian Statewide Homelessness Line on 1800 825 955 to be connected with an Access Point in your area. An Access Point is a designated community organisation that does intake and assessment for people needing help.

What can I do if I’m behind on rent?

Call the Department of Health & Human Services on 1300 650 172 and they will connect you with an agency or service in your area.

What can these agencies help me with?

Tenants Union of Victoria: free advice to tenants on all rental issues

The Real Estate Institute of Victoria (REIV): find out if your agent is a REIV member or look at rental data to compare different suburbs

Victorian Office of Housing: apply for public housing or find out more information

Community Housing Federation of Victoria: find out which type of community housing suits your needs and search for a provider in your area

Aboriginal Housing Victoria: apply for housing or find out more information

Victorian Department of Health & Human Services: information about homelessness and crisis accommodation, children, families and young people, disability, financial support and crisis and emergency

Council to Homeless Persons: practical advice, support, information and referrals to individuals experiencing homelessness or who are at risk of becoming homeless

Victorian Council of Social Service: sector information and advocacy for Victorian agencies

Australian Council of Social Service: sector information and advocacy for Australian agencies

1800 Respect National Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Counselling Service: Australia wide 24 hour a day free counselling for anyone needing help with sexual assault or domestic and family violence issues

Men's Referral Service: anonymous and confidential telephone information and referrals to services in your area

Lifeline: free and confidential service offers immediate support by listening to your issues and giving you referrals to other services

Relationships Australia: service dealing with a multitude of relationship issues

Safe Steps Family Violence Response Centre: free Family Violence 24/7 Response telephone line providing support to women and those close to them affected by family and domestic violence

Financial Counselling Australia: find a financial counsellor in your area or call for telephone counselling

WIRE (Women's Information and Referral Exchange): call their Women’s Support Line on 1300 134 130, chat with them online or visit their drop in centre for information, support and referrals about anything

Federal Department of Human Services: up to date and accurate information about services that you use or have applied to use

What causes homelessness?

The causes of homelessness are as complex and varied and can include domestic and family violence, financial difficulties, housing crisis and affordability stress, inadequate or inappropriate dwellings and relationship breakdown.

What do I need to know about renting?

Your tenancy agreement (lease) sets out the rights and responsibilities for both you and your landlord. Any changes must be agreed to in writing and signed off. For any issues, it is best to contact and negotiate with your landlord or agent first. The Tenants Union of Victoria provides free advice to renters. The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal is where you go to have your case heard when you disagree with your landlord.

What is a specialist homelessness service?

A service to support people experiencing homelessness and those who are in crisis situations or at risk of experiencing homelessness.

What is emergency relief and financial counselling?

Emergency relief helps people solve their immediate financial crisis through vouchers, part payment of outstanding bills and material assistance. Financial counselling is a free, independent and confidential service with qualified and experienced workers who help with budgeting, advocacy, referrals and financial literacy.

What is family and domestic violence?

Family and domestic violence occurs when there is a power imbalance within a relationship with an intimate partner or family member. It includes physical violence, psychological and emotional abuse, control and manipulation, force and intimidation, isolation, threats, sexual violence and financial abuse.

What is homelessness?

Homelessness occurs when someone doesn’t have a stable address to live at. Homelessness includes sleeping rough or in improvised dwellings, emergency accommodation, couch surfing, living in caravan parks or boarding and rooming houses, living with family and domestic violence, living in an inadequate dwelling, having no privacy or secure length of tenure.

What is material aid?

Material aid is practical assistance including food services, parcels and vouchers, toiletries, bedding, transport vouchers, holiday hampers, medication and payment of outstanding bills.

What kind of government assistance is there?

Forms of government benefits include study and job seeker assistance, parenting, disability and carer support, help for older Australians and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and those on low incomes.

What types of housing are there in Australia?

There are a variety of public and private housing options including private ownership, private rental homes, public and community housing, supported housing, temporary housing and emergency accommodation.

Who can become homeless?

Anyone can become homeless. There can be a number of underlying factors including surprise expenses, unexpected illness, domestic and family violence, being an older women, housing affordability and tenure, lifetime trauma, LGBTIQ young people, mental illness, substance misuse and isolation.