Melbourne's Draft Budget 2020-2021: Investing in Homelessness and Social Isolation Solutions
The City of Melbourne has announced its draft budget for 2020-2021, which includes a significant allocation of funds towards addressing homelessness and social isolation. The city plans to spend up to $2 million this year to support people who are homeless, and to invest in programs to combat loneliness and social isolation among seniors. Lord Mayor Sally Capp has emphasised the importance of working together to find long-term solutions to homelessness. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the city has made progress by collaborating with service providers, state government, and councils to provide emergency accommodation for hundreds of people who were sleeping rough. The Victorian government has also funded four pop-up facilities to provide healthcare and supported accommodation for more than 200 rough sleepers over the coming months. The draft budget includes $330,000 to enable the council's daily support team to continue connecting rough sleepers with accommodation and support. The city will also collaborate with Victoria Police and the Salvation Army to place rough sleepers in accommodation, while also working on long-term solutions. The draft budget includes $438,000 for the Salvation Army Night Café to provide food and companionship to people who may feel isolated. The city will invest $480,000 for Frontyard Youth Services to support homeless youth.
Furthermore, the city plans to invest $716,000 in programs to reduce loneliness and social isolation among older residents, through healthy ageing and social support programs. These issues have become even more significant since COVID-19 restrictions were put in place.The Lord Mayor has also announced a $1 million investment to complete the new Lady Huntingfield Early Learning and Family Services Centre, which will almost double the number of child care places available to families.Public submissions on the draft Annual Plan and Budget 2020-21 are open from Wednesday 20 May to Wednesday 17 June 2020. It is vital that the public actively participates in these submissions to provide feedback and suggestions that can help improve the city's approach towards homelessness and social isolation.