THE lack of affordable housing and local emergency accommodation in Bass Coast and South Gippsland is spotlighted by the impending closure of the Miners Rest Caravan Park and the adjoining Capital Motel.
In an effort to facilitate local and regional responses to this ongoing crisis, 50 people attended a forum on housing and homelessness at the Wonthaggi Town Hall on Saturday, February 29.
Guest speaker at the forum, Dr Joseph Toscano, said there’s an extraordinary community in Bass Coast.
“I was very impressed by the people who attended today’s forum,” Dr Toscano said on Saturday.
“They have the experience, the desire, the local voluntary organisations, and an
interested local council, to resolve the issue of homelessness in Bass Coast Shire. This would show the rest of Victoria that a community can solve a seemingly an intractable issue by working collectively.”
Howard Marosi from Melbourne-based Defend and Extend Public Housing said: “The cause of the problem is that those with the power to solve the problem of homelessness – state and federal governments – have chosen to move on the opposite direction.
“They facilitate high rents, high property prices and refuse to fund public housing. Our task is to pressure them to solve this problem.”
Deputy Mayor Cr Geoff Ellis, who chaired the forum, said the death of a homeless woman in Corinella reserve two years ago made him realise that anyone can become homeless.
“We need to urgently secure more emergency and crisis accommodation for our people while advocating to state and federal governments for increased funding and resources.”
Jessica Harrison, from the Wonthaggi Branch of the Australian Unemployed Workers Union, which hosted the forum, said: “Many suggestions came up today about ways to provide more immediate and long-term housing on the Bass Coast.
“We will be meeting again to firm up these ideas and work out the best practical steps forward.”
Get in touch if you can help at wonthaggi@unemployedworkersunion.com.