Homeless people will be able to shelter or recover from coronavirus in repurposed Victorian aged-care sites.
The state government will pour $8.8 million into four pop-up sites to provide health care and supported accommodation for those in need.
More than 200 rough sleepers are expected to go through the inner Melbourne sites over the next six months.
Eligible homeless people need to have been tested for COVID-19 and be awaiting results, or tested positive, or need to self-isolate or discharged from hospital and need a place to recover from the virus.
Housing Minister Richard Wynne said Friday’s announcement would help homeless people to stay safe during the pandemic.
“People without secure accommodation are at greater risk of contracting coronavirus because they can’t self-isolate or quarantine – this will help keep them safe and slow the spread of virus,” he said.
Anglicare Victoria, Brotherhood of St Laurence, Launch Housing, Sacred Heart Mission and VincentCare Victoria will operate the sites.
St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne will lead clinical responses in the centres, and there will be 24-hours support to those at the sites.
The Council to Homeless Persons, a peak body for homelessness in Victoria, praised the government’s move.
“This investment in pop-up accommodation means that people without a home, particularly those who are in poor health and are vulnerable to experiencing more severe symptoms, can effectively self-isolate and receive the medical attention they need,” the organisation’s chief executive Jenny Smith said.
The government is also ensuring that public housing tenants’ rent does not increase as extra payments come through.