“In many cases, the only option for shared accommodation that is available is to live in housing,” she said.
The report urges governments to invest in independent crisis accommodation for the homeless while awaiting permanent housing.
The Victorian government has spent millions of dollars on housing coarse sleepers in hotels during lockdowns due to concerns over COVID-19 outbreaks among vulnerable populations unable to isolate.
“We will work closely with a number of homelessness organizations to identify suitable housing options to move people out of temporary hotel accommodation when the lockdown ends,” a government spokesman said.
More than 1,500 Victorians from 1272 households have now moved to permanent accommodation under the Victorian government’s $ 150 million dollar program from homelessness to a home.
However, many homeless people end up back on the streets or in private bedroom houses when lockdowns cease and funding for emergency hotel accommodation is cut.
“It’s heartbreaking,” said Council to Homeless Persons CEO Jenny Smith.
“Homelessness providers simply do not have the cheap opportunities for people to move in, and that’s how people end up in these unacceptable bedroom houses.”
Mrs Smith said it was extremely positive that homeless Victorians from 1845 households would be helped into their own homes under the From Homelessness to a Home program, and the Victorian government built 9,300 new social housing units within four years.
“But when you have at least 25,000 homeless people at least every night in Victoria, there’s clearly a long way ahead of us.”
Mrs Smith said COVID-19 was now in the homeless population. “If you’re in the type of neighborhood we have in bedroom houses, it’s a really scary scenario to think about infection in that room,” she said.
Last month, 38 residents of John Cribbes House – a bedroom house in Balaclava with shared kitchens and bathrooms – were locked inside for two weeks after a COVID -19 case was found at the facility.
The Ministry of Health says it does not always publish exposure websites if it can “safely and quickly” identify all persons who may have been exposed.
“We have invested more than $ 155 million in coronavirus preparation and prevention in high-risk accommodation, including room houses,” a government spokesman said.
There has also been an outbreak of COVID-19 among the residents of Ibis Styles Kingsgate, one of the hotels used to accommodate the homeless.
And last week, five residents and an employee tested positive at Ozanam House, a non-profit housing center in North Melbourne.
Bevan Warner, CEO of the homelessness organization Launch Housing, said From Homelessness to a Home needed to be expanded, and people were moving from hotels to safer, assisted living rentals.
“We are concerned about how people will survive the next six months of the pandemic. The entire Burnet Institute modeling proposes a long tail out of high COVID case loads among vulnerable communities until February or March, ”Warner said.
“What lies ahead can be the perfect storm of health and housing stress for people who are already on the brink.”
The Morning Edition newsletter is our guide to today’s most important and interesting stories, analyzes and insights. sign up here.