Vulnerable and disadvantaged tenants and consumers are set to receive increased Government assistance over the next four years, starting from July.
The Tenancy and Consumer Program will receive an extra $1.1 million in 2017-18, and a funding increase of more than 30 per cent over the four years from 2017-21.
The increased funding aims to provide better services for renters and consumers, more accessibility, more frontline staff, as well as a dedicated retirement housing service.
Family violence victims experiencing tenancy issues will also be given priority access under the new program.
The program includes:
- more than $2.2 million for the Tenants Union of Victoria to continue providing tenancy-specific legal advice and professional development for community workers
- $3.3 million for the Consumer Action Law Centre, which will work to address systemic issues and support vulnerable and disadvantaged consumers
- $1.2 million for Housing for the Aged Action Group to provide support to Victorians aged 55 or over who live in retirement and rental villages, or as permanent residents of caravan and residential parks.
In total, more than $18 million over four years will be invested in the delivery of local assistance and advocacy services.
The spend also includes $11.4 million for 13 community-based agencies to deliver the Tenancy Assistance and Advocacy Program across Victoria and provide localised services to vulnerable and disadvantaged tenants.
Consumer Affairs Victoria will work with the selected agencies in coming months to finalise funding agreements and operating protocols for the new program.
Agencies that will deliver the Tenancy Assistance and Advocacy Program:
- Geelong Ethnic Communities Council will cover the Barwon service area
- Child and Family Service Ballarat Inc will cover the Central Highlands service area
- Rural Housing Network Ltd will cover the Goulburn and Ovens Murray service areas
- Quantum Support Services will cover the Inner and Outer Gippsland service areas
- ARC Justice will cover the Loddon service area
- Haven: Home Safe will cover the Mallee service area
- Bethany will cover the Western District
- Peninsula CLC will cover the Bayside Peninsula and Southern Melbourne service areas
- Lentara UnitingCare will cover the Brimbank/Melton and Hume/Moreland service areas
- UnitingCare Harrison will cover the Inner Eastern Melbourne service area
- Kildonan UnitingCare will cover the North Eastern Melbourne service area
- Wesley Mission will cover the Outer Eastern Melbourne service area
- Western CLC will cover the Western Melbourne service area.