A Forum on Housing and Policy Solutions

By Dustin Halse MP

06 September 2021

A Forum on Housing Policy and Solutions

Organiser: Maroondah Winter Shelter Homelessness Advocacy Group

Monday 6 September 2021

Victorian Government Big Housing Build

Victoria's $5.3 billion Big Housing Build will construct more than 12,000 homes, boosting Victoria’s social housing supply by 10 per cent over the next four years.

This investment will deliver 9,300 new units and replace 1,100 old units.

Of these new homes:

  • 2,000 will be set aside for Victorians living with mental illness
  • 1,000 for Indigenous Victorians
  • 1,000 for victims of family violence

Further 2,900 new homes will be constructed to help alleviate housing pressure for low-to-moderate income earners.

This project is estimated to generate $6.7 billion in economic activity, creating 10,000 jobs a year over the next four years.

The last time Australia saw investment in housing of this magnitude was at the beginning of the Rudd Government over a decade ago - $5.3 billion investment in social housing.

For more information on the Victorian Government’s Big Housing Build, please visit www.vic.gov.au/homes-victoria-big-housing-build.

What are the community responses?

Berry Street, Michael Perusco:

In making this $5.3 billion investment, the Premier, Treasurer, and Minister for Housing Richard Wynne, have again made public housing a key part of social policy.

Domestic Violence Victoria:

“In particular, we are heartened by the government’s clear commitment to putting housing at the centre of Victoria’s response to family violence.”

Victorian Council of Social Service, CEO Emma King:

“This is such a massive help to solving the crisis while also helping the state move towards recovery.”

Council to Homeless Persons, Kate Colvin:

The Victorian Government Big Housing Build deserves praise – because it’s awesome.

From Homeless to a Home Program (H2H)

In July 2020, the Victorian Government announced a $150 million package put up around 2,000 homeless Victorians in hotels, to keep them, and the broader community, safe from the virus.

The $150 million package also includes the cost of head-leasing 1,100 properties on the private rental market to provide a longer-term accommodation solution.

For more information, please visit https://fac.dhhs.vic.gov.au/news/homelessness-home-initiative

What are the community responses?

Launch Housing, CEO Bevan Warner:

"Two thousand people with a history of chronic rough sleeping, with a permanent housing outcome, with intensive support to reclaim control over their lives to live a dignified and productive life is an amazing outcome during this pandemic."

Each Housing:

“H2H is committed to providing sustainable outcomes that will improve the lives of people experiencing homelessness.”

What is the Housing First Approach?

The Housing First model prescribes safe and permanent housing as the first priority for people experiencing homelessness. Once housing is secured, a multidisciplinary team of support workers can address complex needs through services like drug and alcohol counselling or mental health treatment.

While there is some variety in the way the model has been adopted by different countries, the guiding principle of Housing First is that safe and secure housing should be quickly provided prior to, and not conditional upon, addressing other health and well-being issues.

This model has been implemented in jurisdictions such as New Zealand, Scotland, Singapore, and in Scandinavian nations with critical success in Finland.

Dustin Halse, Op-eds on the Housing First approach



Alliance to End Homelessness, Housing First Factsheet


Housing First Approach in Australia.

The Australian Human Rights Institute argues there is a lack of comprehensive national Housing First policy.

At the present, responses to homelessness are largely coordinated and delivered by state and territory governments. There is no national framework that mandates a Housing First approach.

In March 2020, Homelessness Australia endorsed The Housing First Principles for Australia to promote the implementation of Housing First Australia-wide.

In March 2021, the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into Homelessness Final Report also recognised that the delivery of Housing First was limited due to the lack of permanent housing options.

Australian Human Rights Institute, COVID-19 demonstrates why Australia needs a 'housing first' approach to homelessness


Equity Economics, Nowhere to Go: benefits of long-term social housing to women http://everybodyshome.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/EE_Women-Housing_Domestic-Violence_WEB_SINGLES.pdf

Everybody’s Home Petition:

Sign the petition to call on the Commonwealth Government to put together a national action plan to end homelessness and to support social housing.

Sign here http://everybodyshome.com.au/petition

Homelessness and housing support

Housing Victoria 13 11 72

Housing Victoria, Ringwood Office

(03) 9871 5199

25 Ringwood Street, Ringwood

[email protected]

Uniting VicTas

Homelessness and Housing Service

03 9051 3000

291A Maroondah Hwy, Ringwood


EACH Housing
Community Disability Service

1300 003 224

20 Melbourne Street, Ringwood


The Salvation Amry, Box Hill office

03 9890 7144

31-33 Ellingworth Pde Box Hill


If we could be of any assistance, please do not hesitate to contact my office on (03) 9870 7396 or email me at [email protected]. My office is located at 44 New Street, Ringwood.


Vaccination for people experiencing homelessness

EACH COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic

Ringwood East Community Clinic

304A Maroondah Hwy, Ringwood

Access from Braeside Avenue

(former Maroondah Council offices)

1300 097 151

Accept limited walk-ins

cohealth’s CBD Homelessness service

53 Victoria Street, Melbourne

Innerspace drop-in service

4-6 Johnston St Collingwood

cohealth’s alcohol and other drug service

4-12 Buckley St, Footscray

Melbourne Town Hall

The Salvation Army Access Health

Grey Street in St Kilda