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Submission to the Inquiry into Homelessness in Victoria

About us


Blessing Bags is a volunteer-run organisation that provides bags of essentials to people experiencing homlessness. Our bags include soap, a toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, a muesli bar, sanitary items for women, and a personalised note of hope and support. Members from the local community come together, sacrificing their Sunday morning to make up these bags. A team of volunteers then travel to Melbourne’s CBD and distribute these bags to people sleeping rough, meeting and forming meaningful relationships with people experiencing homelessness. We also partner with numerous homelessness services all over Melbourne who pass on our bags to their clients. Since our inception in 2015, we have created and delivered over 9,000 bags, and partnered with many organisations, community groups and service providers who also distribute our bags. In 2017, we developed our policy and advocacy arm, with the aim to advocate for effective solutions to end homelessness by using evidence-based policy research. Through this arm, we also aim to educate our key supporters on the issues that impact people experiencing homelessness, and what the best solutions are.


Executive summary


While Australia has experienced strong economic growth over the past two decades, the number of people experiencing homelessness has increased. While there are many pathways into homelessness, the overarching cause is poverty1 . With the combination of rising living costs, wage stagnation, family violence, casualisation of employment, and a neglect in the State’s investment in social housing stock, the most vulnerable Victorians are at increasing risk of homelessness. Considering these social, economic and policy factors, it is necessary that State and Commonwealth Governments have a coordinated approach that would ensure no Australian experiences homelessness.


Recommendations:

1. Revise laws that criminalise homelessness such as begging

2. Introduce rent caps and long-term leases to secure renter’s rights

3. Re-prioritise State investment in public, social and affordable housing

4. Remove the stair-case model of homeless crisis services and implement a systemic Housing First model for people experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity

5. Re-consider public housing sell-offs under the Public Housing Renewal Program


Read the entire submission below

Inquiry into Homelessness Australia Submission
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Download PDF • 142KB

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