Skip to content
National News Current Affairs, Political

Lack of homelessness outreach life or death this summer

Council to Homeless Persons 2 mins read

Media release | Thursday, 21 December 2023

Victoria’s peak body for homelessness advocacy is urging the state government to boost funding for outreach workers to identify and assist people sleeping rough with a horror bushfire season looming.

Council to Homeless Persons CEO Deborah Di Natale says many parts of Victoria including Gippsland, the Central Highlands and South-West Victoria do not have funded outreach workers and this makes it impossible to know just how many people are sleeping rough in regional areas.

“This summer is forecast to be a horror fire season across swathes of Australia, underscoring the desperate need for more outreach workers. Many regions, including Gippsland, do not have any outreach capacity to identify and help people, or there’s one worker for 100 people ,” she said.

“This comes as services are at capacity and forced to make heartbreaking choices about who to help. When someone camps in the bush, it’s because they have nowhere else to turn.

“This is incredibly dangerous, and can become a life and death situation in a flood or bushfire emergency because frontline homelessness services have no way of knowing where or how many people are sleeping rough in the bush. 

“If an evacuation order is issued, people may not know or have the means to leave. At the same time, emergency services do not necessarily have any way of knowing people are there in the first place.

“We know that a lot of people came in from sleeping rough in the bush after last year’s floods. Bushfires could be much more deadly.

“But it’s not just a problem during a bushfire or flood. People are still extremely isolated, have little if any protection from health-related illnesses and may be cut off from help in the event of a medical emergency.”

Ms Di Natale said the most recent Census in 2021 showed there were 47 people per 10,000 experiencing homelessness.

“But the Census figures would not have captured everyone without any address such as those sleeping in their car or rough. On top of that, homelessness has since spiralled out of control because of the deepening rental crisis,” she said.

“It means that we simply do not know exactly how many people are sleeping rough in the bush. Additional funding for outreach workers can help plug this gap and save lives. 

“We’re aware that the demographic of people sleeping rough in the bush has changed in recent times. There are more families with children, a direct result of Victoria’s rental affordability crisis, and family violence.

“We desperately need 60,000 new social homes over the decade. But while they are being built, the Victorian Government must prioritise funding for outreach workers to keep people experiencing homelessness safe this summer.”

Assertive outreach is an active and persistent approach by workers to find and engage with rough sleepers or homeless people where they sleep or frequent in order to establish a relationship of trust.


Contact details:

Georgie Moore
0477 779 928

Matt Coughlan
0400 561 480


More from this category

  • Finance Investment, Political
  • 01/03/2024
  • 06:01
Super Members Council

Pandemic super withdrawals could cost taxpayers $85 billion

New analysis shows the COVID-era Early Release of Super Scheme could hit Australian taxpayers with an up to $85billion bill (in today’s dollars) - mostly due to the higher pension costs of those who withdrew their savings needing to rely more heavily on government support in retirement. All of today’s 20-year-olds are projected to pay about $3,000 more tax to cover the higher pension bill caused by the scheme, which saw 3 million Australians withdraw $38 billion from super before retirement. The new Super Members Council modelling shows the early release scheme’s costs in higher pensions and lower super tax…

  • Contains:
  • Political, Union
  • 01/03/2024
  • 05:45
Unions NSW

Unions push phased pokie reduction

The Annual General Meeting of Unions NSW has resolved to push for a phased reduction in poker machine numbers over the next five years to bring the state closer to the number of pokies per head of population in Queensland and Victoria. A motion passed at last night’s AGM calls for NSW to reduce the number of poker machines in the state by at least 25,000 over the next five years. It notes that NSW currently has more poker machines than Queensland and Victoria combined. While there are approximately 227 people for every pokie in Victoria and 109 per pokie…

  • CharitiesAidWelfare, Political
  • 29/02/2024
  • 12:38
Australian Council For International Development

Flatlining Australian aid undermines regional security

Media release | Wednesday, 28 February 2024 Australia’s peak body for international development is calling on the government to urgently boost development assistance to buffer against threats to the region and help our partners deal with climate change. Australian Council For International Development CEO Marc Purcell called on the 2024-25 budget to double the nation’s foreign aid spend to strengthen Australia’s relationships in the Indo-Pacific. “The foreign aid budget is at an all-time low as a proportion of overall government spending. Without a substantial boost, this is set to flatline from 2026 even as global demand for humanitarian and development…

Media Outreach made fast, easy, simple.

Feature your press release on Medianet's News Hub every time you distribute with Medianet. Pay per release or save with a subscription.