We have made great effort to move away from the old-school model of large-scale homeless shelters. We know from experience here, and around the world, that these kinds of facilities create far more problems than they solve.
Warehousing hundreds of highly disadvantaged, highly traumatised, long-term homeless under one roof in the outer fringes of the city is not the answer to our homelessness crisis.
Evidence shows that the best way to end someone’s homelessness is to offer them a home in the community that is permanent, affordable and safe, and then, for some, to provide one-on-one support as needed, sometimes over years, to stay housed. These homes need to be scattered throughout our community in places that are close to jobs, transport and services, and to avoid the creation of ghettos.
When you consider that 1,000 people are sleeping rough in Victoria every night, building and staffing a large-scale shelter with 100+ beds barely touches the sides. Plus, when you do the sums, creating such facilities is no cheaper than providing subsidised homes set in the community.
No-one overcomes their addiction and mental health issues on the street, but they certainly don’t do it living side-by-side under one roof with hundreds of others struggling with the same issues. And importantly, if the chronic shortage of affordable housing in the ‘outside world’ remains unaddressed, there is nowhere for people to go, creating bottlenecks.
Most people who have been long-term homeless have experienced childhood trauma, family violence, episodes of mental illness and have cycled in and out of state care and other institutions…
SOURCE: Council to Homeless Persons. “Warehousing the Homeless is Not the Answer.” Council to Homeless Persons [n.d.]
BroCAP is produced by the two librarians at the Brotherhood of St Laurence in Melbourne, Australia.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF COUNTRY
The Brotherhood of St Laurence acknowledges and recognises the Traditional Owners of the land upon which we live and work, and we pay our respects to their Elders both past and present
Produced by the librarians at the Brotherhood of St Laurence in Melbourne, Australia