As a leading provider of housing and support services for veterans, we’d like to acknowledge Channel Nine’s recent feature story on the issue of veteran homelessness in Australia, as can be viewed here https://fb.watch/jmawD5oVb-/?mibextid=qC1gEa. As an organisation dedicated to supporting veterans in need, we recognise the importance of raising awareness on this critical issue.
The report highlighted the alarming statistics of veterans experiencing homelessness- an issue we are hoping to address. Over 300 veterans who leave the Australian Defence Force each year experience homelessness – a rate 280% higher than the general population. The Australian Defence Force excels in integrating civilians into military life, and it is crucial for the same level of care to be provided for a smooth transition out of the military into civilian life.
At Vasey RSL Care, we provide a range of housing and support services to help meet veteran accommodation needs and overcome other challenges they may face. We work closely with government agencies, other veteran support organisations, and the wider community to provide tailored, holistic support to veterans in need. Our aim is to ensure no veteran has to face homelessness alone, and we will continue to do everything in our power to provide them with the assistance they need to rebuild their lives.
But as the gap for those in need of emergency services deepens, we are looking to partner with the Australian Government, to secure funding of $12.7 million over three years, to manage and operate an industry-first purpose-designed facility: The V Centre. Its purpose will be to provide individualised housing as well as support services for veterans at a point of crisis and homelessness. The V Centre will be in Melbourne and is the first step in a broader national engagement – a unique strategic initiative, based on service to the veteran community in their time of need, that presents an innovative and cost-effective solution to homelessness by providing stability and care, lead ing to improvement in the health and wellbeing of veterans and their families.
The federal government announced the $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund back in 2021. While this was a welcomed announcement, there are complexities with the timing and administration of this fund. When looking at the veterans interviewed in Channel Nine’s coverage, it is evident that lives are at risk, and we need to act now. Securing $12.7 million in federal funding now will allow us to move quickly to start closing the housing gap for Australia’s veterans.
We urge the Australian government and the wider community to recognise the issue of veteran homelessness and take action to address it. Our veterans deserve our utmost respect and support, and we must work together to ensure they receive the care and assistance they need.