Melton homeless level surges

By Sumeyya Ilanbey

The number of homeless people in Melton soared by 25 per cent in five years, according to the latest census data.

There were 333 people living rough in Melton on census night in 2016, up from 267 on 2011’s census night. The numbers cover people couch-surfing or living in temporary accommodation.

Salvation Army state policy unit manager Jason Davies-Kildea said that while homelessness increased by 12 per cent in Victoria in the five years to census night 2016, some pockets, such as Melton, experienced greater increases.

“Not all people are rough sleeping on the streets and in their cars, although there’s a larger proportion of that than we’d like to see,” Captain Davies-Kildea said.

“It also includes young people couch surfing, and issues around serious overcrowding – people in rooming house situations where they can’t guarantee they’ll be there next month.”

The lack of affordable private housing, coupled with the lack of social housing, is an issue governments need to urgently tackle, according to Captain Davies-Kildea.

A Salvation Army analysis has revealed 3000 social housing units need to be built in Victoria every year for the next 30 years to keep up with future demand. Currently, there are about 200 social houses being built each year.

Although Melton is one of the most affordable municipalities in the state, many people are still unable to afford it, according to Captain Davies-Kildea.

“The number of affordable properties in places like Melton are dwarfed by people who want to access those properties,” Captain Davies-Kildea said.