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Maggie Innes is VincentCare's Tenancy and Property Team Leader based in Melbourne's inner north. Here she details how the team responds to the impact of lack of affordable housing options for clients.

“Lack of affordable housing affects the whole state, not just the inner city. Even 20 kilometres out of the city it’s incredibly hard to find something affordable, the rents are so high so people have to look further out more and more where there’s no infrastructure or supportvc 46T7333 Affordable housing structure in place.

Our tenants range from 16 to 80 years of age and all walks of life, people experiencing family violence, people exiting the prison system, recovering from substance abuse, young people leaving state care are just some of the communities we work with.

We’re a team of 4.5 and we manage around 170 transitional properties in the Hume Moreland region as well as a 22 room community rooming house in Sunbury and 61 independent living units across rural Victoria. We work really closely with the stakeholders; support workers, the tenant and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to provide our tenants with a sustainable tenancy.

The aim is, for example, people in transitional housing will be preparing to move into long-term housing whether that’s Office of Housing (OoH) or private rental. A transitional housing tenancy can be anywhere between three months to a number of years and we manage the stock to ensure they are maintained at a community standard. We coordinate and do six month inspections. We take on average about ten calls a day on maintenance.

So we have a mix of stock all bedroom sizes from one bed to four bed properties. All transitional properties are owned or leased by DHHS. We also head lease some properties. These are privately owned and then leased by VincentCare and we put the tenants in."

The CEOs of 36 Victorian homelessness, housing and social services organisations have released an open letter appealing for a shift in the conversation away from vilifying rough sleepers to a focus on the lack of affordable housing that underpins the crisis.

On Christmas Day VincentCare staff and volunteers took time away from their own families to ensure that everyone who attended Ozanam Community Centre (OCC) in North Melbourne had a delicious meal and a day to remember.

It was a festive and friendly atmosphere with a traditional lunch served to over 160 guests and, of course, there was a visit from Santa who handed out gifts to everyone. With music and fun it was a welcome reprieve from the harsh realities of the everyday for people at risk of homelessness or experiencing homelessness.


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