Homelessness in Cardinia Shire

Homelessness is when:

  • a person/s does not have suitable accommodation
  • their current living arrangement is in a dwelling that is inadequate
  • has no tenure, or if their initial tenure is short and not extendable
  • does not allow them to have control of, and access to space for social relations

People experiencing homelessness may be residing in:

  • rooming houses
  • public housing
  • sleeping rough in places such as in cars, tents, improvised shelters, parks, carparks, or garages

The causes of homelessness are numerous and complex and can be caused by:

  • Unemployment
  • Poverty
  • Shortages of affordable housing
  • family breakdown
  • disability
  • mental illness
  • sexual assault
  • addiction
  • financial difficulty
  • gambling or social isolation

Domestic violence is the single biggest cause of homelessness in Australia. Learn more about our work to stop, prevent and end family violence through the Together We Can initiative. Find out more about Together We Can

More info: Australian Human Rights Commission’s website

  • Homelessness in Cardinia Shire increased by 20% between 2011 – 2016 (ABS 2016)
  • Compared to neighbouring Local Government Areas (LGA’s), Cardinia has the highest percentage increase in the rate per 10,000 population (although the actual rate is lower)
  • Compared to interface LGA’s, Cardinia has the second highest increase in rate per 10,000, behind Wyndham
  • Of the 220 homeless people in Cardinia, 57% are living in ‘severely’ crowded dwellings, 24% are staying temporarily with other households and 18% are in supported accommodation for the homeless. This profile has changed when compared to 2011, where the highest proportion were living temporarily with others (34%), followed by supported accommodation (30%) and severely crowded houses (23%)
  • Within Cardinia Shire, most people classified as homeless are in Pakenham South. In the last 5 years there has been a slight shift in homelessness out of the Pakenham area into Bunyip, Garfield, Beaconsfield, and Officer. 

Cardinia Shire Council’s response to homelessness recognises the principles of ‘Victoria’s Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities’ in treating people with respect and dignity at all times regardless of their circumstances.

In everything we do we seek to protect people and to ensure every individual is treated with dignity and respect regardless of their cultural background, ability, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, spirituality or religion.

Council recognises that homelessness is not a crime and that housing is a fundamental human right and an important factor in creating a liveable and resilient community.

Council plays a limited role in responding to cases of homelessness as we do not provide direct housing or homelessness support services. We work alongside service providers such as Ermha and Wayys who are the funded housing and homelessness support services within Cardinia Shire.

These agencies can provide services such as:

  • outreach
  • case management
  • housing support services

Reports of homelessness from the community which we receive are referred on to the relevant agency to connect with the person/s experiencing homelessness. 

Support Services

A list of affordable and free community meals in Cardinia Shire can be found on the affordable and free community meals in Cardinia Shire webpage.
These services include both food and material aid as well as community meals, financial counselling, disability support, CALD services, allied health services and much more.

We do not directly provide housing services. However, you can contact the following services directly:  

Help with finding accommodation

Services that provide financial support or free meals

Crisis and social support services

Discounts and services for eligible households in Victoria

If you're having difficulty paying your rates

Support for the families of young children

  • Cardinia Shire’s supported playgroups give children of vulnerable families (aged up to 4) opportunities to play, while supporting parents and carers with referrals and professional assistance.

For additional information on a range of health and social services available in Cardinia, download the  ‘Services Supporting Cardinia Shire – Family, Health and Social Services Directory

If you see someone who is homeless or believe that someone may be experiencing homelessness:

  • Please do not approach them
  • Please do not remove or damage personal items, sleeping equipment or a makeshift shelter that may belong to the person/s
  • Complete a simple online form (it will take less than a minute to complete)
  • Contact Council directly on 1300 787 624 – you can choose to remain anonymous

Council will use this information to refer cases of homelessness to the relevant agencies that will then visit the site and offer support services to the individual/s.

Should you suspect any illegal activity or that the person/s requires immediate medical attention please call 000 immediately.

Add your contact details below to register your interest in social and affordable housing and homelessness.

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Please visit Council to Homeless Persons website.

Contact our Social Policy Officer on 1300 787 624 or mail@cardinia.vic.gov.au