On Housing the Homeless and Helping Them During this Pandemic
The pandemic seems like it’s not going away anytime soon. The cases have spiked up these past few weeks – and the Government was left with no choice but to put the state in lockdown yet again. According to latest news, Melbourne and Mitchell Shire – the epicenter of the coronavirus have been on lockdown for almost three weeks now and the number of positive cases are not falling. The impact of the virus on so many people globally, forced a drastic lifestyle change.
The lockdown prohibits residents to go out of their homes except for essential shopping as well as for work and study purposes; exercise and essential care. There’s a percentage of the population that needed a place to stay. At the beginning of the pandemic, the Australian Government acted fast and made sure that support is provided. About 2,000 homeless Victorians were brought to vacant hotels because after all, the safety precautions like “stay home and wash your hands” don’t apply if you don’t even have a home to come home to.
Now, to extend this support, homeless Victorians will receive a new batch of aid from the Government with the “From Homelessness to a Home” package. This package includes $150 million funding to help those who have lost their homes find a more stable housing for them – and of course, the ultimate goal is to provide something long-term. The package also includes the extension of the current hotel accommodation until April next year. About 1,100 properties from the private rental market will be leased arrange, which would serve as shelters for those who will leave emergency accommodation.
We, at Xotel, have always been committed in helping organizations and the Government – at the same time, do our own efforts to provide a secure and stable housing with a healthy environment in the quest to ending homelessness. We believe that it should be a right and not a privilege. Since everything seems to be much online nowadays, so will the Government’s promise of 1000 new social housing units. This will provide support to people transition out of homelessness into new homes. This investment is a great opportunity to end homelessness and at the same time, a great help in boosting the private rental market.
According to the recent media release, “The investment builds on nearly $25 million in emergency housing, isolation and coronavirus recovery facilities for people experiencing homelessness, and almost $500 million to upgrade and build new community and public housing across the state.”
The many inequalities the nation has been experiencing for years now were only aggravated by the pandemic. Truly, it’s impossible to do the necessary handwashing and staying at home if what you consider a home is the streets. It is important to address issues that contribute to the result of homelessness – and then make an effort to bring about change in terms of health and safety.
Minister for Housing Richard Wynne adds, “With more housing options and wrap-around support to go with it, we’re giving Victorians the best possible chance to find a path out of homelessness and get their lives back on track.”