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Climate change, housing and homelessness: Report on the homelessness and climate change forum, Red Cross (Victoria)
reportposted on 05.06.2018, 00:00 by S Hanson-Easey, Danielle Every, B Tehan, J. Richardson, A Krakowiczer
A forum on climate change, housing and homelessness was held in Melbourne in October 2016 to bring together a diverse range of researchers, policy and decision makers, practitioners, local leaders and community service organisations to discuss issues related to a changing climate and how these issues intersect with homelessness. The forum was co-convened with the Australian Red Cross, the Victorian Council of Social Service and Central Queensland University and was attended by 75 people. The forum enabled wide-ranging discussion across three key themes: 1. Homelessness and poverty are interrelated, and drive vulnerability to climate change 2. Housing affordability is exacerbating risk of homelessness and exposure to climate change 3. Service provision for the homeless is constrained The forum also identified a number of policy and practice changes that could be implemented to minimise the impact of climate change and homelessness. These include: a systematic approach to poverty reduction, a chief driver of homelessness more choice in the type of accommodation is required that enables people to take the required climate change adaptation actions thermal quality improvements in government and private housing are urgently needed to protect people from heat related illnesses policies that address the cost of electricity are needed to provide better access to cooling adaptations such as air-conditioning more localised strategies that provide emergency support in extreme weather, such as the City of Melbourne’s Heatwave and Homelessness Programme, are required and should be rolled out across jurisdictions homelessness shelters should take a more ‘client focused’ approach catering to the diverse needs of their users in extreme weather events.