Housing and Homelessness

Homelessness is far more than “rooflessness”. Homelessness means being without a secure stable and private space to live.

The majority of people without a home live in temporary, insecure, or unsafe housing situations such as:
  • rooming houses
  • cars
  • government-funded crisis accommodation.

Other people live in overcrowded accommodation or are couch surfing with family or friends.

This is often called "hidden homelessness" as it is more common than rough sleeping and often goes unnoticed or is misunderstood.

Learn more at the Council to Homeless Persons


Assistance and services

  • Homeless or at risk of homelessness: 
    Please call the 24/7 homelessness intake number on 1800 825 955

  • In need of urgent assistance:
    Please call the Salvation Army 24/7 Crisis Centre on 1800 627 727

  • Escaping family violence: 
    Please contact Safe Steps Family Violence Response Centre on 1800 015 188


Learn about what we do

Homelessness in Yarra Ranges

 Yarra Ranges is currently in a housing affordability crisis. Housing affordability leads to homelessness. We currently have one of the lowest levels in Melbourne of both private rental properties and social housing. There is also no emergency housing available and very little housing options for people on low incomes.

There is a large number of people sleeping rough (without shelter) in cars and park. There is also a large amount of people couch-surfing or in other insecure forms of accommodation.

The combined rate of homelessness and other marginal housing in Yarra Ranges rose by 19% between 2016 and 2021 – a total of 756 people. Homelessness alone rose by 10% in Yarra Ranges, reaching 409 individuals.

It is not illegal to be homeless, not all rough sleepers must be “moved on”.

There is currently inadequate funding for services to support all people who are homeless or at risk in Yarra Ranges.

Local support agencies are leading the management of assistance and service provision for people who are or at risk of homelessness.

Council have a limited role in homelessness response. 


Council's Role in Homelessness


Information and referral

Many enquiries come from someone who has seen a person who appears to be ‘camping’ or is homeless. These people are often sleeping in makeshift shelter, also known as sleeping rough.
People also contact council because they, or someone they know are struggling to get or to maintain affordable housing.
Council’s role in homelessness is to provide information about where to get help and make referrals into these agencies. Council does not provide specific services or case management to people experiencing homelessness.

Community Safety

Outdoors or offsite staff also come across people who are homeless or sleeping-rough. Most of these situations involve people who have no other housing options and are doing so without causing a risk to safety.
Where there is a threat our Community Safety team have a legislated requirement to respond. This includes when a person and their belongings or their pets are breaching a local law by causing a nuisance or hazard.
Our Environment Health Officers also specific legislated responsibilities that they will carry-out in certain situations.

Advocacy & Support

We work with our partners to improve homelessness services and to increase social and affordable housing. We do this through proving grants, advocating for funding and building partnerships.
Through various grant programs between 2019-2022 we have provided over $1.2m in grants to community groups responding to homelessness. We have committed a further $780k so far, to support their vital and effective work in supporting those in the community who really need it.

Yarra Ranges Homelessness Protocol

To support council’s role in homelessness a protocol was established in 2016. The Homelessness Protocol is an internal document that sets out the ways in which all departments of council can work together to provide a compassionate, informed and effective response to homelessness in the community.

A renewed Yarra Ranges Homelessness Protocol launched during Homelessness Week in 2023. The protocol goes hand in hand with our partnerships with local homelessness and community support agencies particularly the council-funded Rapid Response Program provide by Anchor, which provides outreach support to people sleeping rough.


Eastern Affordable Housing Alliance (EAHA)

Founded in 2009, the Eastern Affordable Housing Alliance (EAHA) is a collaboration between six local government authorities located in the eastern metropolitan region of Melbourne – Knox City Council, Manningham Council, Maroondah City Council, Monash City Council, Whitehorse City Council and Yarra Ranges Council.

Housing in Australia faces a range of challenges impacting supply, access and affordability.

Through advocacy, policy, joint projects and shared resources, EAHA works to create environments for increased investment in social and affordable dwellings in the region 

To find out more please visit www.eaha.org.au