Family violence public housing wait times blow out
Public housing wait times have blown out by almost double over two years for Victorians fleeing family violence, with the average wait now 18 months.
Victorians escaping family violence are waiting twice as long for priority public housing than they were two years ago.
The Department of Families, Fairness and Housing in its 2022/23 annual report tabled on Wednesday revealed public rental wait times for people fleeing family violence had blown out.
The wait times increased from just over 11 months in 2020/21, to 17.1 months in 2021/22 and 23.6 months in 2022/23.
Other people urgently waiting on the public housing list are also having to wait on average six months longer than they did two years ago.
Average wait times ballooned from just over a year in 2020/21 to 15 months in 2021/22, to 18 months in 2022/23.
The growing wait times for people fleeing family violence are more than double the government's target of 10.5 months to rehome those on the waiting lists.
The sustained demand for social housing following the COVID-19 pandemic and fewer renters moving out have been cited as the reasons behind the blowouts, the department said.
The director of Monash University's Gender and Family Violence Prevention Centre Kate Fitz-Gibbon said the victim-survivors should not be forced to choose between staying in an abusive relationship or experiencing housing insecurity and homelessness.
"Being able to access safe and suitable housing is critical for victim-survivors at the point of relationship separation but also in the medium and long term," Professor Fitz-Gibbon said in a statement.
"The fact that the demand for safe housing is high should not surprise us but in the current housing crisis and economic environment we do need governments to prioritise the safety of women and children."
The Victorian government has committed $469 million to build a thousand new public housing homes for 1800 people fleeing family violence or experiencing homelessness.