The Tenants Union of Victoria has welcomed the Victorian Government’s decision to extend funding for the Rooming House Outreach Program for two years. This follows representations from more than a dozen housing, health and homelessness services on behalf of the program.
The Rooming House Outreach Program has a proud 12-year history. It has supported over 1,200 Victorians through over 2,000 support sessions in the past year alone. About half of those supported were identified as vulnerable on a range of grounds including having children, mental illness, disability, family violence or other health issues. More than 65% were referred to housing and health services that they would otherwise have missed out on.
Tenants Union CEO, Mark O’Brien, said this is good news for rooming house residents, the homelessness system and for efforts to clean up the private rooming house sector through tougher regulation.
“The Victorian Government has done the right thing here. This program punches above its weight in terms of housing and other outcomes for individuals and it plays a vital role in identifying and reporting illegal rooming house operators. This type of program offers our community significant benefits, particularly given the proliferation of private rooming houses, and should be considered for expansion in the next state budget.”
“This decision also means the Tenants Union is well placed to continue a strong partnership with regulators to make sure that the new licensing scheme, including Victoria’s first ‘fit and proper person test’ for rooming house operators, is a success. We want to be partners in shutting down the slumlords and turning Victoria’s private rooming house sector into a place where people can find safe, secure and affordable housing.”