Greater Shepparton residents are being urged to voice their solutions for homelessness in Shepparton at an upcoming public hearing in Shepparton being held by the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into Homelessness.
The Committee is seeking brief ideas and solutions for homelessness through an ‘open mic’ style session at the end of the hearings. The Committee is particularly interested to hear from those who have an experience of homelessness.
Greater Shepparton City Council’s submission to the Inquiry will be considered alongside almost 200 other submissions from across the state. Greater Shepparton’s submission noted the high level of disadvantage in the municipality with the highest rate of homelessness in regional Victoria (5.56 per 1,000 people).
Greater Shepparton City Council Mayor, Councillor Seema Abdullah said the Council was increasingly concerned about the extent of homelessness and housing insecurity across Greater Shepparton. “Council is not directly involved in providing homelessness support but we support a number of organisations providing support services.”
“Council also provided resourcing for a range of community facilities, services, grants, scholarships and activities,” she said. “We also advocate to state and federal governments to provide increased support for housing agencies.”
In a snapshot on housing needs in Greater Shepparton it has been identified that 61.3 per cent of homeless people were female. “This is an unacceptable situation for our community,” said Cr Abdullah. “The reasons behind this statistic are understood but the solutions are not easy.”
As the planning authority Council is working to ensure a consistent and appropriate supply of land and housing to meet demand and affordability and provide infrastructure to new residential areas.
Council has developed a draft Affordable Housing Strategy which has been out for public consultation and will be presented to Council at a future date. “At this stage the report shows Greater Shepparton has a shortfall of 1,751 affordable dwellings for lower income households,” said Cr Abdullah.
“Of course homelessness is much more complex than providing affordable housing but this is one way in which Council can assist with trying to solve the problem. I encourage everyone with an interest in this area to come along to the hearings next week and have their voices heard.”
The community comments section of the hearings will take place on Wednesday 11 March at 4:00pm, at the Connection, 7287 Midland Hwy, Shepparton.