On 13 January 2018, Minister for Housing Martin Foley visited VincentCare’s Ozanam House redevelopment in North Melbourne to announce more than $45 million in initiatives as part of the Labor Government’s new Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Plan.
Informed by frontline agencies and the Rough Sleeping Taskforce – chaired by Melbourne Health’s Dr Ruth Vine – the Plan builds on an Andrews Government commitment to grow Victoria’s social housing supply, ensure better collaboration between agencies and improve support services for vulnerable Victorians.
Support will include:
- $19 million to deliver assertive outreach capacity in locations with a high incidence of rough sleeping (based on AIHW and ABS homeless data) and currently little or no outreach capacity, including: extending the existing Rough Sleepers Initiative to the Cities of Yarra and Port Phillip; and developing eight new assertive outreach teams in Dandenong, Frankston, Maroondah, Geelong, Swan Hill, Warrnambool, Ballarat, and Bendigo
- $9 million to develop six multidisciplinary teams each of six full-time equivalent staff in inner Melbourne, Port Phillip, Dandenong, Frankston, Geelong and Ballarat. The teams will deliver individualised ongoing case management, community nursing, and mental health support. This initiative will also develop a model of peer-led support.
- $4.5 million to reform the crisis accommodation service models at Ozanam House, Southbank and Flagstaff to enable them to deliver a more intensive and therapeutic service delivery model.
- $13 million for an additional 106 accommodation units and onsite support, expanding on the success of the Towards Home program and other rapid housing initiatives.
VincentCare CEO, John Blewonski was onsite at Ozanam House and welcomed the announcement saying, "The plan tackles the key areas needed to prevent homelessness including: early intervention, sustainable and affordable housing and strenghening support services to keep vulnerable people off the street'.
The Plan also includes a focus on providing the complete spectrum of wrap-around services someone may need – such as counselling, legal and financial help – in order to help support people to stay in housing.