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Homelessness at record levels for working Victorians

More working Victorians are seeking homelessness services than ever before, with women and those in outer suburbs and regional hubs struggling the most.



It's tougher than ever for working Victorians to find a place to live, with homelessness soaring across the state, data shows.


The number of employed Victorians seeking homelessness services has spiked 14 per cent to its highest level, a Council to Homeless Persons report shows.


"This alarming rise in working Victorians seeking homelessness support is a frightening new front in the state's crippling housing crisis," council chief executive Deborah Di Natale said.


"Melbourne's outer suburbs and the state's regional centres are at the eye of this savage cost-of-living storm."


The local government areas of Casey, Wyndham, Greater Geelong, Greater Bendigo and Greater Dandenong reported the biggest rises in working people seeking help, while Mildura, Latrobe, Greater Shepparton, Frankston and Knox rounded out the top 10.


The number of people seeking homelessness support increased in 61 of Victoria's 80 LGAs.


"Some people today think that having a job is actually a really protective barrier to homelessness," Ms Di Natale told reporters.


"We now know that the data is telling us that that's not true."


Women were over-represented in the data, accounting for more than 70 per cent of employed Victorians pursuing support.


"It really does mean that they're having to choose between situations that are unsafe in terms of where they're able to stay," Ms Di Natale said.


Nationally, Anglicare data has found only 0.6 per cent of more than 45,100 rentals surveyed were affordable for a full-time worker on the minimum wage.


Ahead of May's state budget, the Council to Homeless Persons is calling for $5.6 million to boost the private rental assistance program and to commit to long-term social housing builds.


Ms Di Natale said there was an urgent need for the state government to also build at least 6000 public and community homes each year for a decade to end Victoria's status as the nation's worst social housing jurisdiction.


"We can't let this crisis slide into catastrophe," she said.


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