Fourteen Frankston community organisations are pooling their resources to tackle homelessness under the banner Frankston City Strategic Housing & Homelessness Alliance.
The groups include housing and homelessness services, health and legal services, emergency relief providers and local government, and they are taking a collective approach to addressing the increasing rates of homelessness across the municipality.
Alliance chairwoman Gillian Kay said Census data showed homelessness in Frankston City had increased by 14.7 per cent between 2011 and 2016. “Without the alliance we would expect to see further increases recorded in the 2021 Census,” Dr Kay said.
The alliance welcomed last month’s State Government announcement of $5.3 billion for new, affordable housing as part of the Victoria’s Big Housing Build project. This will see 9300 social housing dwellings and 2900 affordable housing dwellings – for first-time buyers and renters – built across Victoria over the next four years.
“Our alliance believes that an adequate supply of affordable and appropriate housing is the first essential step towards solving homelessness,” Dr Kay said. “However, we also understand that housing alone is not the solution. There is the obvious immediate need to increase affordable housing options and find secure accommodation for those without a safe place to sleep every night, but there is also a need to identify those at-risk individuals and step in before homelessness occurs.”
Frankston City was identified as one of nine Victorian ‘rough sleeper hot spots’ by the Government’s Rough Sleeper Response Taskforce in 2017, yet rough sleepers represent only a small portion of those experiencing homelessness. “Women and children are the most likely to experience, or be at risk of experiencing, homelessness due to rising incidences of domestic violence,” Dr Kay said. “Women over 55 are an increasingly vulnerable group.” The pandemic had also contributed to homelessness, she said, with more people out of work and experiencing financial distress.
You can find more information on the alliance, its member organisations and its goals here.