A person is considered to be homeless when they don't have accommodation that is safe, secure and appropriate. People can become homeless due to a variety of complex issues, including loss of employment, family breakdown, mental health and family violence.
Homelessness is a growing national problem and the increase in homelessness is being seen in Boroondara.
The number of people in Boroondara who were homeless on Census night increased from 383 in 2011 to 426 in 2016. These homelessness counts are likely to underestimate homelessness because having no access to accommodation can present a range of barriers to completing a Census form.
We advocate to the State and Federal Governments about the need to increase funding and support for people experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness, as well as for the provision of more social housing.
Homelessness and crisis support
If you need urgent help, call Opening Doors on 1800 825 955 (24 hours, state-wide, toll free). Opening Doors is a state-wide program coordinating support for people experiencing homelessness.
The Department of Health and Human Services lists services across Victoria for people who are homeless, at risk of homelessness or escaping family violence.
The City of Boroondara has a Homelessness Protocol, which aims to ensure that people experiencing homelessness are treated appropriately and respectfully, and are offered relevant support services. We work closely with SalvoCare Eastern, a local housing service organisation with trained staff who conduct visits to people sleeping rough. This can involve finding accommodation for the person and/or providing advice about other services.
It is important to note that there is no enforcement in relation to homelessness. People who are homeless have a right to be in public spaces and there are ways the community can assist in making a difference.
If you identify someone needing help, phone SalvoCare Eastern on 9890 7144.
For all safety issues and medical emergencies, call 000 for Victoria Police or ambulance services.
We understand that begging can be confronting for some. People beg for a number of reasons, including homelessness.
Begging is illegal under the Summary Offences Act 1966 and enforcement of this activity is the responsibility of Victoria Police. If a person who is begging is acting aggressively, intoxicated, intimidating, violent or placing people at risk, you can report the situation by calling 000.
For more information about our Homelessness Protocol, phone the Project Officer, Homelessness on 9278 4743.