News

Nicolls electorate among worst for homelessness

By Ivy Jensen

THE Nicholls electorate is in the top 10 electorates in regional Victoria with the largest need for social housing properties.

The electorate, which takes in Campaspe Shire, was ranked number seven as well as 18th statewide, with a social housing shortfall of 2900 properties and 600 homeless people.

The new heatmaps data was released as part of Homelessness Week 2020 and Homelessness Australia's campaign Everybody’s Home, which shows one out of five people without a home in Victoria is based in regional and rural electorates.

Loddon Mallee Homelessness Network co-ordinator Mellissa Edwards said long-term housing solutions were needed for many women, children, men and young people across central Victoria.

“There is a significant lack of affordable housing,” she said.

“Escaping domestic or family violence is likely to have a significant impact on a person’s financial position. It often results in a cycle of poverty, which is difficult to escape from.

“Access to secure, affordable long-term housing is vital.”

Centre for Non-Violence chief executive Margaret Augerinos.

Centre for Non-Violence chief executive Margaret Augerinos agreed, saying there was an increasing number of older women facing insecure housing.

“Throughout their lives, women experience unequal pay, may take time out of the workforce to raise children or perform other caring roles, accrue less superannuation and are often employed in casual roles in female-dominated industries where wages and conditions are inadequate” she said.

“To compound this, women are over-represented in family violence statistics.

“Women may be experiencing economic abuse in their home, where they have limited access to finances.

“They are also often faced with very difficult decisions about whether to stay in a home where they are being abused, or leaving and facing a future of possible financial insecurity, and homelessness.

“Homelessness does not discriminate. Too many women from all demographics are carrying the weight of economic inequity and that we are seeing so many left in hardship in their later years is shameful.”

The CNV has signed up to the Everybody’s Home campaign, which is calling on all governments to work together to fix Australia’s housing crisis.

Homelessness Australia chair Jenny Smith said thousands of people in regional and rural electorates were already without a home or at risk of homelessness and could not access social housing.

“With the significant increase in unemployment because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and decrease in income support coming in September, we are facing a perfect storm that needs immediate action,” she said.

The interactive map can be viewed at www.everybodyshome.com.au/heat-maps

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