Housing and homelessness
Housing is a basic human right and a key way to address poverty. We’re working for a just and inclusive society in which all people have access to safe, secure affordable and appropriate housing.
Escalating housing costs are causing widespread housing stress. For those who rely on income support payments for their weekly income, this situation is dire.
The severe shortage of affordable rentals and social housing is forcing those on low and medium incomes to move to remote areas far from job opportunities. Many survive in insecure housing or even face homelessness.
Urgent action and sustained commitment from all levels of government, in partnership with communities, is needed to address the magnitude of Australia’s affordable housing crisis.
Housing systems and policies intersect with a range of issues including social security, employment, tax, disability, ageing, energy, climate, planning and infrastructure, and child and family assistance.
The BSL Social Policy and Research Centre works across these domains to produce policy recommendations, service and practice development frameworks, and publications for advocacy.
Our work in this area includes:
- evaluation and oversight of the Model Founding member and backbone Foyer Foundation
- partnership with National Shelter and others to publish the Rental Affordability Index; BSL is the Victorian representative on National Shelter’s council
- advisory group participation including the University of Melbourne Affordable Housing Initiative, AHURI research grants, and Vic Residential Tenancies Commissioner Reference Group
- developing and testing new models to assist vulnerable households to improve the energy efficiency of their homes – including leading Your Sustainable Home, Home Energy Assist pilot and Solar Powered Renters
- research partnership with Melbourne Disability Institute on innovative housing models for people with disability
- architect and ongoing adviser to Tasmanian Government’s “Housing Connect” strategy to prevent homeless for young people
- research into households with volatile incomes receiving Commonwealth Rent Assistance.
• Undertake a sustained program of investment to substantially lift social and affordable rentals across the nation. This will provide stimulus across regional economies, drive productivity, and address affordability challenges.
• Expand the use of inclusionary zoning to deliver affordable housing contributions from future property developments.
• Establish a coherent, evidence-driven approach to homelessness underpinned by shared principles and governance; a focus on prevention and early intervention; tailored responses for distinct groups and embedded connections with employment, education, health services.
• Recast support for young people at risk of homelessness to include a primary focus on education and training to change their life trajectory.
Externally produced related publications
The Brotherhood of St. Laurence commissioned KPMG to conduct an evidence-based analysis of the value for money offered by the Education First Youth Foyer model:
The most comprehensive study of foyers shows that prioritising education for young people experiencing homelessness pays off.
Reconfigured relationships and roles were vital in the collaboration between government and community organisations to develop Education First Youth Foyers.