We can achieve our outcome goal by:
- supporting Victorians to live in diverse, well-connected communities with access to the housing supports they need to thrive
- enabling Aboriginal self-determination by having housing responses designed for and delivered by Aboriginal people
- delivering more social housing so that Victorians have access to social housing that meets their needs when they need it
- improving public housing provision so that Victorians have access to quality, person-centred, and sustainable public housing when they need it
- facilitating the growth of affordable housing so that low- and moderate-income Victorians have access to quality housing options that are within their means.
Homes Victoria is the steward of the social housing system in Victoria. Homes Victoria works across government, industry and the social housing sector and with our operations divisions to deliver on the Victorian Government’s significant growth and reform agenda.
We know that once someone has a safe and secure home, other concerns such as mental illness, trauma, family violence and even finding a job can improve. We also know that homelessness and sleeping rough can worsen mental health problems, trauma and poor health, as well as expose people to violence.
The Victorian Government has invested $75 million to make homelessness in Victoria rare, brief and non-recurring. This investment will reform elements of the homelessness service system, shifting to a delivery model that provides tailored support and is focused on prevention, early intervention, and sustainable housing. Homes Victoria is also continuing to deliver ground-breaking programs including From Homelessness to a Home and Homes for Families.
Aboriginal people have higher rates of homelessness in Victoria than anywhere in Australia. To address this, the Aboriginal Housing and Homelessness Framework – Mana-na woorn-tyeen maar-takoort (Every Aboriginal person has a home) – will put in place the building blocks of a new approach to achieve safe and secure housing for Aboriginal Victorians. The Victorian Government has invested $35 million to strengthen the Aboriginal Housing Sector and provide some 2,000 Aboriginal Victorians with modern, appropriate housing.1
One of the most important foundations for a healthy life is a stable and safe home. But not everyone has a safe and secure place to live.
In response, the Victorian Government has invested $5.3 billion in the Big Housing Build. This social housing initiative will construct more than 12,000 new homes throughout metro and regional Victoria, increasing the state’s social housing supply by 10 per cent in four years.2
Through the Big Housing Build we will target 10 per cent of all new social housing created through the program to meet the needs of Aboriginal Victorians. Around 2,000 new homes will be available for people living with mental illness.3 We are also continuing to provide crisis, emergency and other appropriate accommodation options for people experiencing family violence.
Homes Victoria is leading a large-scale program to renew, rebuild and upgrade homes to become safer, more liveable and more accessible.
All the new homes built as part of the Big Housing Build will aim for a minimum silver rating from Liveable Homes Australia. This will ensure Victoria’s social housing portfolio provides high-quality homes that meet a diversity of need, including for people with disability.
The Victorian Government is investing $112 million through the Social Housing Efficiency Program to upgrade 35,000 social housing properties to improve energy efficiency. This will provide energy cost savings, improve comfort for tenants and deliver environmental benefits. The Social Housing Energy Efficiency Program is part of the wider $797 million Household Energy Savings Package.
We aim to address the gap between private rental rates and community housing rates so people can afford a private rental or local housing close to where they work. Nurses, teachers and other critical workers may work in suburbs they cannot afford to live in. This forces them to travel hours to get to work and adds to labour shortages in those areas.
Homes Victoria will build 2,400 more affordable and low-cost homes.4 These will help low-to-moderate income earners live closer to where they work and provide options for private rental. All new homes will meet seven-star energy efficiency standards. They will include a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom homes, responding to changing household sizes in Victoria.
Social housing investment is also a means to create jobs and investment opportunities within our communities. Using our buying power for social good, we have set ambitious targets to employ and support jobseekers including:
- Aboriginal Victorians
- CALD communities
- LGBTIQ+ people
- public and community housing tenants.
We will work hand in hand with industry to realise job and spending targets. This will help create a more equal, diverse and inclusive property and construction industry.
We do not just build housing. We also build communities. We have place-based teams working in partnership with local residents, other government agencies and service providers to help build more connected communities. This will help bring community health and other services together.
This includes new initiatives such as the Paving the Way Forward Program which is helping to build more community-focused and healthy communities. The program works with residents, community groups and service providers in the Flemington and North Melbourne public housing communities to help solve local issues and build on local strengths. The program is inviting local community members to come up with ideas and deliver community-led projects.
Visit Homes Victoria’s website for more information about these initiatives.
Our stories – Yarra Resident Voice
It is important for people living in public housing estates to have input into improvements on community issues important to them. The Yarra Residents’ Voice Group was established in early 2021 to engage directly with renters and residents living on the Collingwood, Richmond and Fitzroy public housing estates
The group was formed through an expression of interest process calling for public housing residents with a commitment to improving their communities by working with the department and other key partners. Recruitment was disrupted by COVID-19, however, with the support of the Brotherhood of St Laurence, over 50 applications were received with a 30 strong diverse group of renters appointed. This group has been meeting monthly since June 2021 with housing staff and Directors from DFFH and Homes Victoria.
Initial meetings began with ‘getting to know you’ activities to establish the group and agree on the roles and responsibilities of the members and departmental attendees. Members then worked together to develop the Terms of Reference that guide the group’s activities. As a result, Yarra Resident Voice members have collectively agreed to:
promote self-help and co-operation to facilitate resident empowerment
a shared commitment to improving local services
mutual respect and willingness to collaborate.
The group commenced meetings remotely due to the COVID pandemic and the group became a vital community forum when COVID cases were identified within high-rise towers across the estates. Crucially, it provided a strong platform for sharing inclusive messages to help the community stay safe at this unsettling time and was also a key resource in the longer-term response around vaccination.
Relationships are key and outside of the monthly meetings, members from across the three Yarra estates regularly meet with department representatives to have real conversations about enhancing lives, connections, communities and culture across the Yarra estates.
In the monthly meetings, conversations are stimulating with everyone deeply engaged as community representatives and departmental staff celebrated, revealed and reflected on the realities of the strong and diverse communities that found themselves sharing more in common than not.
Guests from Homes Victoria, North Richmond Community Health, Brotherhood of St Laurence and Neighbourhood Justice Centre are regular attendees who join and listen as residents speak out. Strong outcomes have been achieved in building community capacity and understanding about strengthening access to mental health services.
As COVID restrictions eased, we saw the group hold its first face to face meeting in March 2022 since its establishment. A traditional Somali dinner was served by the Belgium Avenue Neighbourhood House Cultural Catering team and the night ended in a buzz with residents and DFFH staff mingling over Eritrean coffee and Mandazi, a traditional East African dessert.
The Yarra Resident Voice Group will continue to meet and promote an agenda of issues that are important to residents, celebrates achievements and diversity and enables strengthened approaches to social recovery.