NUMBERS of people accessing homelessness services in Shepparton is on the rise, with Rural Housing releasing figures showing a 25 percent increase in locals contacting them for assistance over the last six months in 2015.
Rural Housing’s homelessness entry point saw more than 690 people needing assistance with a place to stay between July and December 2015, compared to over 520 in the same period in 2014.
Of those homeless or at risk, over 60 percent were in housing crisis and as a result, Rural Housing has spent more than $55,000 on short term accommodation over the period, but with the increase in demand, sourcing accommodation is becoming a challenge.
The figures also showed that 60 percent of all people seen by Rural Housing in Shepparton were on their own and a quarter of those seeking help were under 25 years of age.
Rural Housing CEO, Celia Adams said, “The increasing numbers in Shepparton pose many challenges for the homelessness and housing sectors, as the demand for a place to stay far exceeds what we can source or supply.
“Affordable short term accommodation options are limited in Shepparton. We rely on caravan parks and motels while we work with people on a longer term solution. Availability is especially difficult due to tourism and homelessness is a big burden for private businesses to carry.
“We believe having a home is a human right and when people have a safe, secure and affordable place to live, it makes our communities happier, healthier and stronger. We are looking to the upcoming federal and state budget announcements with anticipation. We would love to see increased funding for short term accommodation options and an investment in longer term solutions on the agenda,” Ms Adams said.