News & Events

CEO reflects on Homelessness Week

July 31, 2018

At the start of a new financial year, may I take the opportunity to thank everyone who responded positively to our recent Tax Appeal. The appeal will continue for a few weeks, however, to date we have raised almost $12500. It is hugely appreciated and makes a very real impact on some of the most vulnerable people in our community. Thank you!

We continue to forge ahead on many fronts, growing our services to residents and talking with politicians and donors about our solution to housing and supporting older Victorians in need.

Our team has been looking closely at the data over the past few months, and it is clear that we are in the middle of a storm of economic and social factors that are putting a huge strain on housing affordability and availability.

As we approach the annual Homelessness Week in August, we are taking the opportunity to reflect how far, or otherwise, Australia has come to solve the issue of homelessness in the ‘lucky country.’ The answer is not far enough.

The new Census data reveals a 13.6% increase in homelessness. In Victoria, the data shows an 11.2% increase in homelessness over the past five years. More than 24,000 people are now homeless on any given night.

It is Victoria’s young and old that are bearing the brunt of homelessness. The number of older Victorians experiencing homelessness has exploded, with the number of homeless people aged over 65 increasing by 35% over the last five years.

We know that while 73% of all older Australians own their home (Productivity Commission 2015, p9), only 47% of OCAV residents owned their home before moving into an OCAV village. The majority of the remaining 53% of OCAV residents were either homeless or vulnerably housed while living with family or friends, in private rentals or in temporary accommodation.

At OCAV we acknowledge the great strides that have been made combatting homelessness over recent years. We welcomed in January the Victorian Government’s Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Plan which recognised that to end homelessness for good, the right services must be in place as well as building more houses. However, the number of planned public housing units is nowhere near enough to ensure everybody has a home.

Here at OCAV we have a heightened sense of urgency to raise the funds – $30million to provide 100 units – and seek champions to gift us land to develop tailored accommodation and services for older Victorians.

This year’s Homelessness Week’s theme is, Ending homelessness together. I can truly say that your support is helping us along that path.

I love the ‘magimix’ of people who make up the community and that it is a safe and happy place to live. - Jo Portlock

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