With cold and wintery conditions upon us, the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council is seeking to partner with State Government to do more to support the growing number of homeless people on the Peninsula.
This concerning issue has been brought into sharp focus with a group of people who have been sleeping rough on the Rosebud foreshore who have nowhere else to go.
Council has been working closely with local agencies to support people in this situation to transition into better accommodation, but the lack of local options is creating a significant impediment.
Mornington Peninsula Shire Mayor Councillor Sam Hearn said it is unacceptable that vulnerable members of community have found themselves in this predicament.
“As we enter the coldest months of the year, camping on the foreshore exposes people who are sleeping rough to significant health risks”.
“There’s no shortage of local compassion, support and effort to find better accommodation for these people, it’s the lack of crisis and temporary accommodation and social and affordable housing on the peninsula that is hampering these efforts”.
“We are asking the State Government to help us to help these vulnerable members of our community”
While the Mornington Peninsula is known as a holiday destination with natural attractions, food, wine and recreational activities, what may not be apparent to many Victorians is the significant social and economic challenges faced by some of our residents.
One of the most confronting issues on the peninsula is that 16% of our homeless residents sleep rough every night. The sixth highest numbers per local government area in the state.
Mayor Hearn said the way the State Government has reacted to the COVID 19 pandemic by accommodating and quarantining people in hotels is an example of how nimble and innovative thinking can provide immediate solutions. The State’s major funding boost to reduce the incidence of rough sleeping and homelessness by giving more access to temporary accommodation has had a welcome impact but the problem is not solved. The challenge is for more local accommodation with appropriate supports so that people on the Peninsula have the same opportunities as those who are closer to the city.
“We have a number of ideas to help our homeless community but we need the support of the State Government to be able to explore these further and find some real, sustainable and immediate solutions”.
Council adopted a suite of policies in April, including the social and affordable housing policy to develop strategies to address gaps in the housing market and assist Council to advocate for and facilitate sustainable housing options for the community: mornpen.vic.gov.au/housing.