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Victoria’s homeless hotel program extended

Hotel stays for 2000 homeless Victorians will continue until at least April 2021 as the state battles a second coronavirus wave.

The state government took the rough sleepers into vacant hotels at the start of the pandemic to help them isolate.

On Tuesday it announced a $150 million package to extend current hotel accommodation until at least April next year while the 2000 people are supported into stable, long term housing.

The government will lease 1100 properties from the private rental market and the first of 1000 new social housing units promised at the state election becoming available.

Homelessness peak body, Council to Homeless Persons, says people staying in the hotels have been worried about their future and whether they could move into a real home.

“Around 2000 people are currently in hotels, including over 220 children, over 500 women, and more than 1100 single person households,” chief executive Jenny Smith said in a statement on Tuesday.

The group welcomed the continued hotel scheme and move towards private rentals, but said investment in social housing needed to continue to help people once their private leases expire.

“Subsidised leases are a great medium-term housing option, but we don’t want to see people get a home now, only to lose it when the subsidy runs out and they return to a private rental housing market they can’t afford,” Ms Smith said.

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