More families at risk of or experiencing homelessness will have access to the private rental market thanks to the Andrews Labor Government’s changes to the successful Private Rental Assistance Program (PRAP).
Speaking at the Victorian Homelessness Conference, Minister for Housing Richard Wynne announced changes to the PRAP program following feedback from homelessness support agencies.
PRAP is a $34.9 million program which helps people find and maintain tenancies in the private rental market, keeping them out of homelessness. In the last financial year it helped 6,000 households get and stay housed in private rentals.
Funding for PRAP is provided through homelessness support agencies across the state and is used to cover costs such as rent, bond, household items and removalists.
After feedback from homelessness agencies, PRAP will redirect more of its funding towards support workers and housing brokers to help solve issues behind private tenancy breakdowns, and to find appropriate properties.
It will create a $4.8 million initiative, PRAP Plus, to provide 25 outreach workers across the state to support tenancies, solve issues around tenancy breakdown and reduce preventable exits from private rental.
These outreach workers will be able to help tenants with issues such as finding what they need in a new area, negotiating with real estate agents and where needed, referrals to support services such as financial counselling and health facilities.
And 21 extra private rental brokers will be deployed across the state for two years to locate and negotiate for appropriate properties, taking the total number of brokers to 38.
The Victorian Homelessness Conference runs today and tomorrow. It is organised by the Council to Homeless Persons.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Housing Richard Wynne
“Programs like PRAP are helping us support households in rental stress to hold onto their privately rented homes and avoid slipping into the stress and risk of homelessness.”
“This is funding that makes the most of people’s own capacity to rent in the private market, using brokers and outreach workers to help Victorians find and hold onto private rentals and get their lives on track.”
“We’ve listened to homelessness agencies and directed funding towards where it will be most effective.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020