By Victoria Stone-Meadows
Casey council is set to establish and chair a homelessness network for the Casey Cardinia Region following a unanimous vote at a council meeting on Tuesday 4 July.
The decision follows a meeting between Casey council and service providers in the region which help people in precarious housing situations.
The meeting took place on 7 June this year with representatives from WAYSS, the Cranbourne Salvation Army, the Southern Homelessness Services Network, ERMHA, The Andrews Centre and Rotary Club of Cranbourne.
This led the council to set up a network for people facing homelessness in the municipality.
The new network will bring together the currently available options for emergency housing and other outreach programs in Casey to ensure a multi-agency approach to homelessness.
The report that came to council from the meeting also recommends that Casey hosts a housing summit with the Victorian Minister for Housing Martin Foley.
Casey Councillor Geoff Ablett, along with Cr Milla Gilic, is the driver behind this plan, and he said the meeting made it clear the available service to people in region was scattered.
“The great thing we discovered is there are people that have been doing these things, but have never actually met each other,” he said.
“The meeting we held brought it all together and that’s what it is all about.”
“What we are discovering is there are some organisations already operating in City of Casey that have heard of the others, but we want to bring everyone together and that may mean a bigger group to lobby for Casey to address the issues that vulnerable people face.”
Cr Ablett said the aim of the housing summit and the homelessness network was to bring the many service providers in Casey together to better manage all the factors that could lead to vulnerable housing situations.
“The idea is helping people overcome and seek that help they need, which is a very difficult hurdle,” he said.
“We aim to bring everyone together and get a better understanding regionally, and hopefully find the best model for homelessness and help each other.”
“In theory, this will then springboard into a commitment for a permanent solution for homelessness and vulnerable people in the Casey Cardinia region.”
While the City of Casey wants to help solve the homeless problem in the area, Cr Ablett said they could also extend that into more social welfare support.
“It is quite exciting; pooling resources to get a better bang for our buck and helping more people,” he said.
“There is a need for this now, but we are also advocating for rehab centres and things like that so council is committed to that as part of advocacy program.”
“We want to take all these issues head-on, and this summit is the first step.”