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Councils unite to address homelessness in the suburbs

The number of homeless men, women and children is growing in suburban areas and COVID-19 has further impacted the vulnerability of those who sleep rough without a safe place to call home.

According to the 2016 Census, more than 116,000 Australians and almost 25,000 Victorians were homeless on any given night pre-COVID-19, including 365 in the city of Knox, a figure that excludes a further 212 people living in marginal housing which includes those living in improvised dwellings or marginally housed in caravan parks.

Knox City Council is among 13 councils that have united to combat homelessness after noticing more people sleeping rough in the suburbs. 

In late 2019, the CEOs of City of Casey, City of Cardinia, Frankston City Council, City of Greater Dandenong, Knox City Council, City of Kingston, Manningham City Council, City of Monash, Maroondah City Council, Mornington Peninsula Shire, City of Whitehorse, Yarra Ranges Council and Bayside Council formed the Regional Local Government Homelessness and Social Housing Charter Group to end homelessness and advocate for more social housing.

Ahead of National Homelessness Week (1-7 August), the Charter Group launched a best practice guide, Housing First for People Sleeping Rough Practice Guide for Local Government.

Homelessness is a complex issue and requires a triage of support including, mental health but the first step must be a safe and secure home. The guide encourages a whole of Council approach to homelessness based on human rights, including everyone’s right to a safe and affordable home, while protecting public places and spaces.

Secure, safe and suitable housing is essential. For information about the support and services that are available for those who are homeless, at risk of homelessness or escaping family violence, visit

To learn more about National Homelessness Week, visit


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