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The media releases below feature some of the programs and work the Rural Housing Network is involved in.

Please visit Client Stories or Events for information on how we assist and connect with local communities.

Please contact us for more information on any of these items.


11 May 2017


Whilst this year’s Federal budget promises several mechanisms to increase the supply of affordable housing, little has been offered to renters within the private market or the homeless, according to Rural Housing Network’s CEO, Celia Adams.

“Whilst there are opportunities to increase the supply of affordable housing within the budget, those on the lowest incomes and the most vulnerable people in our communities have been left out in the cold,” Ms Adams said.

“I applaud the Federal government for its new initiatives, especially the Housing Infrastructure Facility to allow local governments to encourage affordable housing development, as well as the bond aggregator to provide opportunities for low cost finance to increase the supply of affordable housing. However, what we know is, that even when rental properties are affordable for people on very low incomes, the highly competitive nature of the private rent market means that those in desperate need don’t always have access to properties that are affordable.” Ms Adams said.

While agreeing that initiatives for affordable housing were encouraging, Ms Adams said that she was disappointed in the budget allocation for homelessness services.

“It’s one thing to promote affordable housing, but when the systemic issues that cause homelessness are not properly addressed through appropriate levels of funding, the homelessness crisis facing this country will not be resolved.”

“The $375M commitment over three years for homelessness services is, in reality, a rebadging of the existing National Partnership on Homelessness with some indexation. There is no real increase in investment. The positive is that the funding is secured on an ongoing basis, something we haven’t had previously, however it’s still not enough.” Ms Adams said.

Ms Adams also raised concerns about budget announcements of further welfare reforms including drug testing of welfare recipients.

“These measures are punitive and stigmatising and are likely to contribute to more homelessness, not less welfare misuse,” Ms Adams said.

“The Government wants to target those using illicit substances who receive Centrelink payments, however they have failed to consider whether substance misuse is the cause of someone’s poverty, or a response to it. Where is the funding to support services and rehabilitation services, rather than simply punishing those in need?”

Ms Adams doesn’t believe these measures will save the Government money, but may in fact cost the Government more than their savings.

“I wonder if the Government has considered potential increases in crime, the impact on health services and homelessness services as a result of these measures?” Ms Adams asked.

Moving forward, Ms Adams has some hopes for the future.

“I’d like to see a National Affordable Housing & Homelessness Strategy that works equally to increase the supply of affordable housing, together with real investment to address the social inequalities that impact on people’s ability to secure safe and affordable housing. A strategy that includes serious consideration of all the opportunities that could make a difference including reforms to negative gearing and capital gains, large scale investment in social housing so that those most in need have access to affordable housing, and appropriate levels of support funding to assist vulnerable people to access housing and maintain housing.”

Ms Adams said Rural Housing Network (RHN) will seek more details on the initiatives and continue to advocate for the often marginalised people who use RHN’s services.

RHN is the largest homelessness service in the region. It manages over 700 properties and provides support services to 4000 people annually, from Seymour through to Wodonga and Shepparton to Myrtleford.

24 February 2017


The Minister for Housing, Martin Foley and the Treasurer, Tim Pallas recently announced $2.1B of funding that will provide new social and affordable housing for thousands of Victorians through the following initiatives:
• $1B Social Housing Growth Fund
• $1B Loan Guarantee Program
• $100M revolving loan facility
• The transfer of 4,000 public housing dwellings to the Community Housing Sector.

Acting CEO of Rural Housing Network, Louise Frichot welcomed the announcement, saying it has responded to the real need and will deliver bricks and mortar on the ground.

“We welcome this innovative approach and the commitment from the Victorian Government to address affordable housing on a long term basis.”

There is a critical shortage of affordable housing, so any new resources available to provide those in most need, with safe, secure, affordable housing is most welcome. Demand for low cost housing is ever increasing, adding pressure to the private rental market, homelessness services and community housing resources.”

The Victorian Government will use interest from its $1B Fund to provide capital that will allow successful bidders to construct new social and affordable housing dwellings. Once the fund is fully capitalized it will generate approximately $75M per annum.

“As the largest affordable housing and homelessness service provider in the Goulburn Valley and North East Victoria, Rural Housing will certainly use these initiatives to increase affordable housing options in our region.

“We are committed and ready to work in partnership with Government and the private sector to ensure the success of this initiative. Rural Housing Network looks forward to increasing the supply of affordable rental housing across our region.”


30 January 2017


Rural Housing Network’s new Chair, Sue Paini has identified the gap between community expectations on housing affordability and the current commitment of state and federal governments to ending homelessness as a major focus for her first term.

“I believe the community expects everyone to have access to affordable housing but the growing numbers of homeless and governments’ inadequate resourcing of the sector is quite concerning,” Ms Paini said.

Ms Paini took over as Chair of Rural Housing Network at the end of last year after eight years on the Board.

In joining the Board she made a conscious decision to use her interest in property and finance and her corporate experience to put something back into the local community.

“I’ve been a tenant, a home-owner and a landlord. I believe secure housing is a critical point in ensuring all people can access the benefits living in a community offers, such as employment, family life, being involved in interest groups and connecting with others,” Ms Paini said.

“Rural Housing Network therefore was a logical board for me to join – it’s such an important organisation, providing very practical services that really are required in the community. The two sides of what we do; supporting clients and providing housing, ensure the best outcomes for some of the most disadvantaged in our community.”

Ms Paini is the CEO of Kestrel Apprentice Solutions and lives in Wodonga.

RHN is the largest homelessness service in the region. It manages over 700 properties and provides support services to 4000 people annually, from Seymour through to Wodonga and Shepparton to Myrtleford.

8 December 2016


Rural Housing Network will buy six houses – two each in Shepparton, Wodonga and Wangaratta - with its latest allocation from the Victorian government’s Rapid Housing Fund – Homelessness.

RHN CEO, Celia Adams said the grant is part of the government’s response to priority recommendations from the Royal Commission into Family Violence. The Rapid Housing Assistance Fund provides up to $48.8million for additional social housing.

“In the first round, Rapid Housing Fund – Family Violence, we received $2.1million which enabled us to purchase 10 houses for those who have experienced family violence. So, we are really pleased to receive a further $1.3million in this second phase of the allocations for properties with some furnishings, designed to assist those with recent experience of rough sleeping,” Ms Adams said.

“In the first round we contributed $700,000 or 25% of the project costs and the same will happen again this time, with us contributing $400,000,” she said.

Ms Adams welcomed the grant and the recent Victorian government announcement of $109 million over five years to address the state’s growing homelessness problem.

“We are really pleased to see the state government committing to this funding when the Australian government is still to provide a definite answer on the continuation of the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness funding which will end on 30 June. This lack of certainty affects all homelessness organisations and their staff, because they can’t plan with any surety for next year,” she said.

RHN is the largest homelessness service in the region. It manages over 700 properties and provides support services to 4000 people annually, from Seymour through to Wodonga and Shepparton to Myrtleford.

6 December 2016


The Rural Housing Network is proud to be among the 209 organisations from across the country, calling for action on the National Parternship on Homelessness (NPAH). The letter signed by these organisations was sent to the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull today. You can read the letter here.

You can support the campaign by writing to your local federal member of parliament or joining in the conversation on Twitter using the #saveNPAH.


1 December 2016


Rural Housing Network’s CEO, Celia Adams has praised the $109million announced recently to boost housing and homelessness services in the state, saying RHN wholeheartedly agreed with Housing Minister, Martin Foley, that every Victorian deserves a place to call home.

“We agree with that basic concept. Housing is a human right and daily, our teams see what happens to people, families and communities when someone experiences homelessness in any form,” Ms Adams said.

“We are especially pleased that the commitment includes targeting young people, building new homes and supporting people’s rental and leasing arrangements.

“It’s in addition to a big investment by the Victorian government in support services for those affected by family violence. Family violence often leads to homelessness so the two need to be well resourced.”

Ms Adams said in contrast, homelessness services around the country are again waiting for the federal government to advise them of the future of the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness (NPAH).

“The Australian government is still to provide an answer on whether the NPAH funding will end on 30 June. Discontinuation of the funding would remove $115milllion from the sector, leaving an estimated 80,000 people without support. This lack of certainty also affects all homelessness organisations and their staff, because they can’t plan with any surety for next year,” she said.

RHN is the largest homelessness service in the region. It manages over 700 properties and provides support services to 4000 people annually, from Seymour through to Wodonga and Shepparton to Myrtleford.

9 November 2016


After five years as the Chair of the Rural Housing Network board, Peter Quigley will retire next week, but not before calling for changes that would allow private investors to invest meaningfully in affordable housing.

“In the last eight years the homelessness situation in this region has got worse,” Mr Quigley said.

“Rural Housing Network, the largest homelessness service in this region, has done a lot to provide accommodation and support services to people at risk of homelessness but the problem keeps increasing,” he said.

“It requires more funding or a means by which private investors can invest in affordable housing through some incentives.”

Mr Quigley’s term will end on Friday, 18 November when Rural Housing Network holds its annual general meeting.

“Being on the board for eight years has been one way of giving back to the community. It’s given me a lot of satisfaction to see the ability of the organisation to expand the number of homes available and the range of services RHN offers to support people, including those in private rental.

“I’d encourage others with an interest in housing as a basic human right to consider joining the board.”

RHN CEO, Celia Adams thanked Peter for his service in guiding the organisation for the past five years and supported his call for new members on the board.

“Peter has made a significant contribution in his role; both because of his personal interests in the welfare of people in our communities and because of his skills and knowledge as an architect,” Ms Adams said.

“And we would love to hear from anyone who is interested in ending homelessness that might like to make a contribution through our board,” she said.

RHN manages over 700 properties and provides support services to 4000 people annually. It supports people from Seymour through to Wodonga and Shepparton to Myrtleford.

Rural Housing Network’s annual general meeting will be held at the Gateway Hotel, Wangaratta from midday on Friday, 18 November. All welcome. A light lunch will be served at the end of the meeting. Please RSVP for catering purposes to Julie, Executive Assistant on (02) 6055 9015.



With more than 600,000 Australian children living in poverty (2014 statistics from ACOSS Poverty in Australia report) Rural Housing Network (RHN) is on a mission to raise awareness of the links between poverty and homelessness.

RHN CEO, Celia Adams said 13.9% of Australians live in poverty and local data shows many in the local communities are also struggling with poverty.

“The poverty line in Australia is considered to be about $400 per week for a single adult. In the last financial year in Shepparton and Mooroopna we completed 877 individual assessments for people at risk of homelessness. 36% of these people were receiving Newstart Allowance, 29% were under 25 years old and 33% of these young people were receiving Youth Allowance,” Ms Adams said.

“With housing being a significant financial burden, poverty ends up being a major contributor to homelessness,” she said.

“Newstart Allowance and Youth allowance are two of the lowest common benefits clients receive from Centrelink, which puts these people near the poverty line,” she said.

In Anti-poverty Week from 16 to 22 October, RHN will hold a trivia night in Shepparton as a fundraiser to assist local individuals and families at risk of homelessness.

“In October we get involved in Anti-Poverty Week to highlight this for those who don’t have the power to do so themselves. We are actively working to seek more investment in low-cost housing, increasing stocks of public housing and raising awareness regionally,” she said.

Ms Adams encouraged Shepparton and district residents to get a team together or come and join others who share an interest in the cause.

“We have hosted trivia nights before and they are a good fun night out and local organisations and businesses support us by contributing prizes, so it’s a real community effort,” she said.

Tickets for the Shepparton Trivia night on 19 October are $10. Drinks at bar prices. You can buy tickets by phoning RHN on 03 5722 8000. The trivia night starts at 7pm at The GV Hotel. All welcome.

Trivia nights for Anti-poverty Week are also being held in Benalla and Seymour.


Shepparton Homeless Sleeping Rough and Mostly Young and Single

250 people who sought help from the Rural Housing Network’s Shepparton branch last year were ‘sleeping rough’ – living in cars, tents or improvised dwellings - and another 196 were staying with friends or family.

Nearly 55% of the 1130 people who came to the Rural Housing Network (RHN) for assistance were not receiving Newstart or Youth Allowance and 62% were single, with or without children.

Rural Housing Network (RHN) CEO, Celia Adams said the data for the last financial year shows that homelessness is affecting people in all walks of life.

“This shows you that high numbers of people who are not dependent on welfare are seeking assistance. We know this is mostly due to two things; that they experience some trauma incident in their lives which reduces their ability to work and they don’t have the resources to meet all their financial commitments, and the second is the high cost of private rental,” Ms Adams said.

“When an individual or family is paying more than 30% of their income in rent, this is called housing stress and many people know someone in this situation,” Ms Adams said.

“In Shepparton we are seeing an increase in rough sleeping which is another indicator that people are pushed to extremes by not being able to access affordable housing.”

Ms Adams said in this, national Homelessness Week, data for Shepparton serves to highlight how widespread homelessness is and how it affects people.

The Shepparton data is consistent with the findings of the 2016 Housing Affordability and Homelessness in the Hume Region report which looked at data for the last three years.

“Across the region we are seeing predominantly women and mostly young people aged between 18 and 35.”

As part of Homelessness Week, RHN’s offices in Wodonga, Shepparton, Wangaratta and Seymour will hold awareness raising events. Join them in the Shepparton Market Place at the information stall from 11am – 2pm on Thursday 4 August and from 11.30am – 2.30pm, in the Maude St Mall for a BBQ on Friday 5 August. You can learn more about homelessness and how you can help, as well as pick up resources. All welcome.

Read similar media releases with data for:






Homelessness and Housing Affordability at Crisis Point in Hume Region

25 July 2016

What does a homeless person in the Hume region look like? They are more likely to be female, presenting alone and aged between 26 and 35 years according to the 2016 Housing Affordability and Homelessness in the Hume Region report, which will be launched at LaTrobe University in Wodonga on Monday, 1 August to mark the start of national Homelessness Week.

Rural Housing Network CEO, Celia Adams said the report presents data for each council area and the whole region for the first time, and alarmingly shows the growth in demand for homelessness services throughout the region and the undersupply of affordable housing for lone-person households.

“The data shows more people who seek help have been homeless for less than one week. That debunks some myths around people being ‘entrenched’ in homelessness and shows that more and more people, now predominantly young women, are experiencing homelessness for the first time,” Ms Adams said.

The report was commissioned by the Hume Region Homelessness Network (HRHN) which acts as a resource for the 14 agencies supporting homeless people in the region. Read the full media release here.



Rural Housing CEO on the Family Violence Housing Assistance Implementation Taskforce

Our CEO  Celia Adams has been selected to sit on the Victorian  Family Violence Housing Assistance Implementation Task force, as a result of the Family Violence Royal Commission recommendations.

The key functions of the taskforce include:

The taskforce has also been asked to provide policy advice to guide reform in homelessness, social and affordable housing. We are really pleased to be involved in this, and that there will be a regional voice.

You can also find more information here.



Vote Home Campaign 2016

Australia is in housing crisis, and it’s getting worse. Housing costs continue to eat up more of people’s income, and homelessness numbers remain high, yet, there is no national strategy to address housing affordability and homelessness. The national Vote Home campaign supported by Rural Housing, aims to raise awareness and put housing affordability and homelessness on the political agenda in the lead up to the election.

By Voting Home, you are saying that you want to end the housing crisis by 2025 and that access to a safe and affordable home is achievable for all. To support the campaign, please click here.



April 2016

Over the past two months, Rural Housing has led an awareness raising campaign on what homelessness looks like in our area, as well as what we are doing to keep people housed.

In the Border Mail, Wodonga feautred in three articles on homelessness, family violence and prevention.

You can also see the press releases sent for other areas, by clicking on the topic below.

Wangaratta - Homelessness & Prevention

Shepparton - Homelessness & Prevention

Seymour - Homelessness & Prevention



February 17

Rural Housing CEO talks with the Border Mail about negative gearing and affordable housing. For the full article click here.



February 4

Berry Street and Rural Housing have been chosen to manage the new Education First Youth Foyer in Shepparton and to partner with GOTAFE in the provision of vocational training for residents.  Currently under construction opposite GOTAFE on Fryers Street, the new Foyer building will accommodate up to 40 young people aged 16-24years who are committed to continuing their education, but who are at risk of homelessness.

Young people, aged 16-24 years who are attending secondary school, TAFE or  university, and who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, will be eligible for up to 2 years accommodation to assist them to maintain their studies, whilst being  supported and mentored by staff and the local community.

Click here for the full media release or see our articles in the Shepparton News and Shepparton Adviser.



November 25

Rural Housing has responded to the first ever Rental Affordability Index in Australia that has been released. It shows damning evidence of a housing affordability crisis that cannot be ignored by any level of Government. Commissioned by National Shelter, the Rental Affordability Index tracks the affordability of rental housing in the state capitals as well as in regional Australia.  It sets an RAI benchmark of 100, in which households pay 30% of income on rent.

For those families on the lowest 20% of incomes, earning approximately $500 per week and usually reliant on Government benefits, the affordability index is 48 – showing that rental accommodation is extremely unaffordable. For those in the bottom 40% of incomes (around $1000per week), often with low paid or casual employment, the RAI is 93 – still unaffordable and requiring families to pay more than 32% of income in rent.

Click to see the full media release or the article in the Border Mail.

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