Who is leading the change
Family Safety Victoria
The Victorian Government give priority to removing current blockages in refuge and crisis accommodation and transitional housing, so that victims of family violence can gain stable housing as quickly as possible and with a minimum number of relocations, are not accommodated in motels and other ad hoc accommodation, and spend on average no longer than 6 weeks in refuge and crisis accommodation.
The Family Violence Housing Assistance Implementation Taskforce started a program of work in May 2016 to identify and respond to 'blockages' in refuge and crisis accommodation and transitional housing. This was to ensure people in refuge or crisis accommodation have an increased range of housing options once their immediate safety and support needs have been addressed in refuge.
Since 2016, there has been significant investment in stable housing through the Housing Blitz package and through a range of initiatives aimed at helping women and children rebuild their lives and achieve safe, stable housing. This investment includes:
- delivering improved refuge and crisis accommodation responses for victim survivors of family violence, including redeveloping all communal refuges to the ‘core and cluster’ model
- constructing 2 new Aboriginal family violence refuges
- acquiring 184 new social housing properties targeted to victim survivors and their children
- expanding the private rental head leasing program with 124 new head leased properties targeting victim survivors and their children
- building an additional 130 properties to provide long term public housing
- expanding access to private rental assistance to support people to access and maintain private rental housing
- a funding boost for family violence Flexible Support Packages to meet the individual needs of victim survivors of family violence, including support to stay safe at home through a related expansion to the personal safety initiative
- providing additional case management to support victim survivors of family violence to transition out of refuge accommodation.
This is in addition to related system reform work under Victoria’s Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Plan (2018) and Homes for Victorians (2017). Through the 2018–19 State Budget, Government has committed to expanding supports to enable victim survivors to gain stable housing as quickly as possible by:
$27.7 million over 4 years to fund up to 12 family violence refuges to continue to provide secure, after-hours crisis accommodation for women and children seeking immediate support. This will enable refuges to refer and accept women and children with the greatest need and at the highest risk
$4.1 million over 2 years for continuation of 120 family violence head leased properties to provide additional housing options for victim survivors of family violence
Other work to be undertaken is the development and review of the Crisis Response component of the Specialist Family Violence Service Model which will set out program requirements for agencies delivering these responses including the expectations about enhancing the interface between Housing and Homelessness Services and Family Violence Services.
In late 2018, the Premier announced a second-term investment of $209 million to build an additional 1,000 public housing properties over three years to 2022. The ‘Building New Homes to Fight Homelessness’ initiative includes 800 one- and two-bedroom properties and 200 three-bedroom properties, providing homes for around 1,800 Victorians around the state. A number of these properties are being targeted to particularly vulnerable homeless Victorians including victim survivors of family violence.
In addition, the $5.3 billion Big Housing Build will expand options and increase supply of housing for vulnerable Victorians including victim survivors of family violence. It will see construction of 12,000 additional social and affordable housing options over the next 4 years and is expected to provide safe homes for up 1000 victim survivors of family violence across Victoria.
Family Safety Victoria has developed the Specialist Family Violence Service Program Requirements, which include the expectations of agencies in relation to addressing the housing needs of family violence victims and agencies’ collaboration with housing and homelessness services and to commence early exit planning. The 2019-20 and the 2020-21 budget outcome for crisis and emergency accommodation strengthen the capacity of specialist family violence services to find local solutions for victims and strengthen collaboration between local family violence and housing and homelessness agencies.