It appears that the COVID-19 pandemic may hold at least some silver lining for Victoria’s homeless. Since March more than 2000 homeless Victorians have been accommodated in hotels during the pandemic. This program has been extended to April 2021.
The Victorian Government has announced recently a $150 million package that will cover the cost of the hotel accommodation as well as the cost of leasing 1,100 private rentals. The first of 1000 new social housing units that were promised during the 2018 election are also becoming available.
Those staying in hotels will have access to mental health, drug and alcohol and family violence support, which will continue when they move into long-term housing.
Homelessness has always been a problem that has been perceived as far too complex to solve. We are encouraged to see that with the collaborative efforts of various parties, some small positive steps are being added – but it is early days with a lot of inaction to make up.