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June 7, 2022

More funding needed to support our vulnerable

Quantum Support Services has highlighted the increasing need for support for some of our community’s most vulnerable.
Quantum Chief Executive Natalie McDonald said the high cost of living, unemployment and a tough rental market were just some of the pressures affecting Gippslanders, leaving them homeless or at risk of homelessness.

“Housing options are just no longer as readily available or affordable as they were pre-2020 and we predict that this is going to continue to worsen. As a rural community we also have less resources and housing options in general,” Ms McDonald said.

“For the past two years, State Government has supported the Housing Establishment Fund with additional top ups to provide emergency motel accommodation. As of 1 July 2022, this funding will revert to pre-COVID levels and we will revert to placing persons who present as experiencing homelessness with only two to three days of motel accommodation.

“Post COVID, the changing rental landscape accompanied by no movement in Centrelink benefits will mean that we will have very minimal options available. Our present exit options are extremely limited and are worsening on a daily basis.

“Quantum is aware of 17 families residing in motels across Latrobe and Baw Baw council areas. Included in those 17 families are 50 children and two unborn children.”

Ms McDonald said Quantum’s data showed about 1300 young people experienced homelessness each year in Inner Gippsland.
“In addition to those shocking figures, we have also provided support to more than 297 single adults, couples and families who have presented as experiencing homelessness in the past 12 months,” she said.

Ms McDonald said a sustainable funding stream was needed for social and affordable housing to address the increasing demand and the high waiting lists of those persons requiring support.

“These measures won’t solve homelessness on their own, but they could contribute greatly. An increase in support services funding would help to meet demand and enable us to provide early intervention,” she said.

“Quantum is working on bringing a youth foyer to Gippsland. This facility, identified in Infrastructure Victoria’s roadmap, Victoria’s Infrastructure Strategy 2021–2051, would give a dedicated and evidence based medium-term solution for young people.

“Further investment in short term options for youth, such as an injection of funding into Quantum’s Youth Refuge Building would also allow us to support more young people or build more refuges, effectively intervening early in the Homelessness continuum and stopping chronic homelessness throughout a person’s lifecycle.”

For more information on the support services available through Quantum Support Services visit www.quantum.org.au or phone 1800 243 455.