Council of Homeless Persons calls for action as Geelong reports 188 per cent increase in former prisoners becoming homeless

VICTORIA’s peak body for homelessness says more support and housing for former prisoners is needed to cut crime and recidivism.

Council of Homeless Persons chief executive Jenny Smith said the tight and competitive rental market left vulnerable Victorians, including prisoners, at “grave risk” of reoffending.

Geelong police recently ­established partnership with Salvos Connect to assist homeless people frequenting the ­Little Malop St mall.

A Barwon homelessness ­report released this year ­revealed 7 per cent of all people without stable accommodation in Geelong had been released from custody, while national AIHW data reports an 188 per cent increase in former prisoners becoming homeless over the past five years.

“The prison population is growing at such a rate at the moment that there are more people in that vulnerable position not able to secure housing,” Ms Smith said.

“If prisoners come out without a destination they are much more likely to reoffend.

“We are seeing people on low incomes and prisoners over represented in the (homeless population) because they are trying to compete.”

According to Department of Health and Human Service data, cited in the Homelessness in Barwon South West Region report, no single-­bedroom rental properties in Greater Geelong were affordable for people on Centrelink incomes between January and March, while 13.1 per cent of the region’s two-bedroom properties were deemed ­affordable in this period.

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Source: Adelaide Now