The Victorian Inquiry into Homelessness report was published today with over 50 recommendations to address significant issues of homelessness. The Legislative Council Legal and Social Issues Committee received more than 450 formal submissions and held 18 hearings in Melbourne and across regional Victoria before tabling their report.
What does the report say?
The bipartisan report highlights that ‘Homelessness is one of the most complex and distressing expressions of disadvantage and social exclusion in our society and requires immediate attention by government’ with the resolve that ‘Victoria can solve homelessness’.
The Committee noted that the homelessness system in Victoria is ‘overwhelmed with those in need, making it increasingly difficult for service providers to adequately respond to the complex and varying problems a person faces’ arguing that ‘early intervention is crucial to ending homelessness’.
‘Early intervention is particularly critical for those who first experienced homelessness at a young age. Prevention of homelessness amongst young people or intervening early is important to ensure that experiences of homelessness and disadvantage at a young age do not affect the life chances of an individual and increase the likelihood of ongoing homelessness into adulthood’.
Early Intervention and the COSS Model
The report recommends the expansion of initiatives linked to the Community of Schools and Services (COSS) model, with a minimum expansion to seven pilot sites that will include four metropolitan sites and three regional sites’ (Recommendation 19).
Associate Professor David Mackenzie, Co-Creator of the COSS model, Chair of Youth Development Australia and one of Australia’s leading experts on youth homelessness said,
“This is a landmark report that poses an agenda for reform in how Victoria might more effectively address homelessness. But Child and youth homelessness is not only a Victorian problem; it is a national problem. To advance the response for young people, what is needed is a National Strategy to End Child/Youth Homelessness with governments and the NGO sector working together on how the end homelessness. Now is the time to do it!”
Homelessness beyond Victoria: We need a National Strategy
In an effort to put youth homelessness on the national agenda, Prof. Mackenzie has joined together with several experts across every state and territory in Australia to organise the forthcoming National Youth Homelessness Conference in June 2021. The conference aims to gather all those who seek to contribute to a national effort to end child/youth homelessness in the foreseeable future.
The Victorian Inquiry into Homelessness report is available here.
Contact: Associate Professor David Mackenzie on 0412104873 or email@example.com