Read the Commissioner's full submission, which primarily focuses on the role of the private rental sector in contributing to homelessness or the risk of homelessness. The submission makes the following recommendations -
The Victorian Government should:
- Ensure that the ‘housing first’ approach is supported and assured through funding and delivery of homelessness services.
- Develop an action plan in collaboration with the community services sector that includes specific strategies to reduce the risk of homelessness from the private rental market including at least:
- addressing access barriers for some cohorts at risk of homelessness through expanding private rental access and brokerage programs. Brokerage programs have the added benefit of reducing industry prejudice
- increasing the amount and flexibility of financial assistance available to vulnerable renters experiencing housing insecurity from short-term financial hardship
- increasing statutory incomes and rent assistance to improve the broad affordability problems in the rental market
- continued reform of the residential tenancies laws to improve private rental security by tracking and limiting evictions and mitigating excessive rent increases
- directly addressing overcrowding as a key risk of homelessness
- more effective compliance and monitoring of private rooming houses (and some long-stay caravan parks) to reduce the exploitation of vulnerable residents who are locked out of the mainstream rental market
- Develop a clear plan for creating the additional social housing dwellings needed to address current demand and to keep pace with future population growth.
- Develop a long-term plan for funding and commissioning support services for homeless Victorians and those at risk of homelessness to address current demand and keep pace with population growth including at least:
- establishing a support-based program for at risk tenancies in the private rental market (like the current Tenancy Plus program for social housing tenancies) including the availability of flexible funding to meet diverse client needs
- broadening the current tenancy rights program funded by Consumer Affairs Victoria and ensuring effective integration with the proposed support-based program