The media releases below feature some of the programs and work the Rural Housing Network is involved in.
Please contact us for more information on any of these items.
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.
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:
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.
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:
Overseeing a process designed to remove blockages in access to family violence crisis accommodation by rapidly rehousing family violence victims living in crisis and transitional accommodation
Examining the implementation of stronger models to prevent homelessness, including the delivery of Safe at Home approaches
Designing, overseeing and monitoring the first 18-month phase of the proposed expanded Family Violence Flexible Support Packages
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.
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.
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.
You can also see the press releases sent for other areas, by clicking on the topic below.
Rural Housing CEO talks with the Border Mail about negative gearing and affordable housing. For the full article click here.
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.
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.