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This article was first published by Tumut and Adelong Times on 18 January 2024  Click here to view the full article.

THIRTY-FOUR people were identified as homeless across the Snowy Valleys Local Government Area (LGA) on census night in 2021, and this is expected to have increased considerably since the cost of living crisis set in.

St Vincent de Paul case worker for the local region Kieran Mulloy said homelessness was a complex issue, encompassing various situations where individuals lack stable housing. “Rough sleeping” refers to those spending nights outdoors,” he said.

“Its impact is widespread, often unnoticed. Identifying an exact current figure is difficult due to the housing pressures felt nationally in the time since the census was conducted.”

He said the current cost of living crisis had impacted many individuals and families, putting significant pressure across the Snowy Valley community, including the most vulnerable members of our community.

“The median rental property costs $360 per week in the Snowy Valleys LGA,” he said.

“Since the beginning of 2019, the median rental has increased by 50 per cent in the LGA.

“Rising prices for essential goods and services, continue to be a significant contributing factor to financial challenges for individuals and families. This, in turn, leads to difficulties in maintaining stable housing. High housing costs, in particular, is a significant factor in homelessness across the state not just locally within the Snowy Valleys LGA.”

He said there was a national demand for social housing which exists in the Snowy Valley region.

“The median waiting times for social housing in the Snowy Valleys LGA is two months for priority housing and 15.9 months for general housing,” he said.

“Snowy Valleys is lower than the state-wide average for priority (three months) and general (22.5 months) housing. Social Housing only makes up 3.1 per cent of total dwellings in the Snowy Valleys. It is evident that the associated cost of living crisis when partnered with a lack of available housing and affordable housing is a significant contributing factor to the current homelessness crisis felt throughout the Snowy Valleys and acro

Since the beginning of the financial year, St Vincent de Paul Society volunteer members in Tumut – and surrounds – received 492 assistance requests from 156 people seeking assistance. If people are in need of assistance, they can contact the St Vincent de Paul Society on 13 18 12.

“At a local level, Vinnies looks to support individuals within the community who are experiencing homelessness to link in with support, receive advocacy and explore accommodation opportunities in partnership with local service providers and the Department of Communities and Justice,” Mr Mulloy said.

“Vinnies looks to advocate for individuals who are experiencing homelessness to receive temporary accommodation and support individuals to explore appropriate and sustainable accommodation in the private rental market and with key community partners such as The Department of Communities & Justice, Tumut Regional Families Services and ARGYLE Housing.

“In a broader response to the identified state-wide housing crisis, Vinnies continues to advocate and work closely with both state and federal governments to secure additional funding to combat homelessness. Vinnies played a critical role in reform relating to Temporary Housing which took effect in 2023. This included removing the 28-cap for assistance within a Calander year and also reviewing the financial guidelines relating to supporting individuals who required assistance when fleeing domestic violence.” ss the state.


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