* 18 May 2023 *
Vasey RSL Care, the not-for-profit organisation servicing Victoria’s veterans has been successful in securing $150,000 under the Federal Government’s Veteran Wellbeing Grants Program. This welcome funding will contribute to the fit out of Vasey RSL Care’s V Centre Veteran Empowerment Program.
The V Centre is an innovative program combining a place to live with ‘wraparound’ support services for veterans who are homeless or at risk of being homeless. Data indicates that Australian veterans are nearly three times more likely to experience homelessness than the general population.
The V Centre will assist over 100 veterans in its first three years, empowering them to overcome the challenges they face, with support tailored to each individual.
The grant will contribute to the fit out of The V Centre in Ivanhoe, helping provide beds, bedding, bedside tables, couches, desks, tables and chairs, kettles, fridges, microwaves and more. Each cluster of apartments within The V Centre will have a bedroom, a kitchenette and a lounge/dining area requiring furnishing for the residents who will need kitchen equipment, dining tables and chairs, couches, coffee tables, TVs and shelving.
Vasey RSL Care submitted a pre-budget submission for $12.7 million dollars in budget funds from the Federal Government to complement the $11 million capital investment they have already made.
While the budget submission was not successful, the Housing Australia Future Fund (The HAFF) has provision to fund the operational costs Vasey RSL Care needs for the program to operate at its full capacity for the first three years.
“While the budget delivers important cost-of-living measures and healthcare benefits, it has missed a vital group – military veterans who are being hit harder than anyone in the current housing crisis,” says Vasey RSL Care Chief Executive Officer, Janna Voloshin.
“The Government is indicating that funding from The HAFF will be allocated to building housing and funding specialist services for homeless veterans should it be passed. We urge the Parliament to come together and reach an agreement so that The HAFF can start helping those in desperate need. They cannot wait indefinitely.”
“We are 100% committed to implementing The V Centre,” says Voloshin. “This program will not only save the Government millions of dollars in pensions, housing and acute care costs, it will also change lives – and save lives. However, we cannot do it by ourselves.”
Although most veterans manage the transition to post-service life, there is a group whose needs are not being met. In the limited provision of veteran-specific homelessness services throughout Australia, and particularly in Victoria where no such services currently exist, veterans are being supported by an overwhelmed mainstream approach, if they are being supported at all.
While Vasey RSL Care supports the budget measures to retain Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel, funding support should not stop once they have returned to civilian life.
Quotes attributable to Vasey RSL Care Chief Executive Officer Janna Voloshin:
“The HAFF is being used as a political football, while brave veterans across Australia, who have been slipping through the government cracks for years, wait in limbo.”
“The V Centre has the capacity to change lives – to bring about lasting change for veterans experiencing homelessness and its causes.“
“This program is about changing and saving lives, and we’re pleading with the Parliament to support one of the most vulnerable and at-risk groups in our community.”