‘It’s a devastating area’: how Melbourne lost its last refuge for the vulnerable

The western suburbs were once Melbourne’s last bastion of affordability. A refuge for the city’s vulnerable, where the unemployed and lowest-paid could still put a roof over their head.

Now, each morning, lines of rough sleepers and the hidden homeless spill out the doors of local access centres, waiting to be triaged and linked with housing support.

Those in line play a cruel game of chance.

Help is prioritised to the worst crises but there are rarely enough beds or appointments with support providers to go around.

“If you can get through the whole line and everyone gets an appointment, that’s a good day,” one homelessness support worker said, speaking to the Guardian anonymously. “And that maybe happens once every two to three weeks.”

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