The St Vincent de Paul Society Victoria's (Vinnies Victoria) homelessness programs prevent vulnerable people from becoming homeless and supporting them on their journey out of homelessness and towards independence.
Our homelessness programs include: assistance with accommodation costs, a rental assistance program to promote self-sufficiency, and a no interest loans scheme (NILS) to assist with the purchase of essential household goods. Our specialised homelessness service and housing provider, VincentCare, assists some of Victoria’s most vulnerable communities, such as people experiencing homelessness due to the housing crisis and family violence.
We combine a unique pairing of professional services alongside strong volunteer-led assistance across Victoria.
Our volunteers help keep a roof overhead by providing financial assistance to pay arrears or advocacy to real estate agents or other agencies.
Volunteers also assist people to settle into new housing, providing social connections and local support that enables people to engage with their new local community.
Two people who can talk at length about how valuable this kind of support is are Karryn and Dallas. Vinnies volunteers, Ian and Shelia, came across the couple while they were living in a tent in a council park in Gippsland – and Karryn was heavily pregnant. Ian and Sheila decided then and there that they would do everything in their power to house the soon-to-be young family.
They were immediately moved into a motel, then to accommodation in a nearby caravan park. Within two months, Vinnies was able to provide them with a three-bedroom house at nominal rent, where they have stayed since with their beautiful son Alek, who was born in August 2020.
“Life in the tent was scary and really hard. It wasn’t a nice place to sleep, we just had a few blankets on the ground,” says Karryn. They also had their dog DJ, who acted as a watchdog and kept them warm at night.
Dallas had to steal food for he and Karryn to survive and they say their thoughts became very dark. “We were in a rut and just had to take things minute by minute,” says Dallas. “It was very tough.”
But now the couple say they have not looked back. More than a year on, they are going strong.
“Ian gave us two choices that day – we could take their help or leave it,” says Dallas. “We chose to take it, and it’s been the best thing ever.” Read more of their story HERE.
Vinnies Victoria believes that safe, stable and affordable housing is a human right. To read our current submission to the Victorian Government Social and Affordable Housing Discussion Paper please click HERE.