Australia’s Largest Homeless Centre Reopens In Victoria

A ground-breaking new centre for Melbourne’s rough sleepers will provide apartment accommodation and a full range of wrap around support services with the opening of the redeveloped Ozanam House.

Minister for Housing Richard Wynne today opened the revamped North Melbourne facility, which will focus on engagement, reconnection and recovery. It is now Australia’s largest homelessness accommodation centre.

Boosted by a $10 million Andrews Labor Government grant, the $47 million redevelopment can house 134 people in independent dwellings, each with ensuite, and is for the first time open to women and LGBTIQ people.

The 10-level development by VincentCare Victoria provides:

  • three floors of short term crisis accommodation to house 60 people moving from rough sleeping
  • three floors of medium term accommodation to house 50 people overcoming addiction, mental health issues or violence
  • three floors of 24 long-term, independent living units for over-55s escaping chronic homelessness.

The Homeless Hub and Resource Centre will support 250 people a day with services such as a dentist, nurse, GP, podiatrist, alcohol and drug intervention, physiotherapy, acupuncture, optometry and occupational therapy.

Ozanam will provide services for homeless visitors including a tech hub to recharge phones, use free wi-fi and computers; meals, showers, a gym, library and laundry, physical storage, cloud storage and financial advice.

With a model based on extensive research, it aims to address trauma and create lasting change with individualised case management in a calm and welcoming environment. It features peer support volunteers who have experienced homelessness, and a single record system so clients only need to tell their story only once.

The Labor Government is tackling homelessness by building 1,000 additional public housing properties, replacing old public housing estates with modern dwellings, developing thousands of social housing dwellings through Homes for Victorians and helping people remain in private accommodation through its Private Rental Assistance Program.

Quote attributable to Minister for Housing Richard Wynne

“This game-changing new facility is not just housing people – it’s helping them resolve the complex problems that led them to homelessness, in an environment where they can heal and rebuild their lives.”

Quote attributable to VincentCare chief executive Quinn Pawson

“This project has been five years in the making and we are extremely proud to be the drivers behind such a major investment in homelessness support.”