THE Mornington Peninsula is among the top six Victorian municipalities when it comes to the number of homeless people being forced to “sleep rough”.
However, Mornington Peninsula Shire has reiterated that it is a problem the state government – not the council – should be fixing.
The situation came to head last week when police and council staff used a bobcat to clear Rosebud camping ground of tents being used by the homeless. (“Homeless on a merry-go-round” The News 9/6/20).
The mayor Cr Sam Hearn said the shire had been trying to find alternative places for the campers to stay as the allocated camping area could not accommodate them all. He warned that if they were allowed to stay the place could become a kind of shanty town.
“We’re hitting a brick wall because the state government is not providing enough funds to stop the ongoing merry-go-round,” he said.
Things have now come to a head, with the shire last week urging the state government to “do more to support the growing number of homeless people on the peninsula”.
Statistics show that 16 per cent of the peninsula’s homeless sleep rough every night – the sixth highest number of any local government area in the state.
“It is unacceptable that vulnerable members of community have found themselves in this predicament,” Cr Hearn said.
“As we enter the coldest months of the year, camping on the foreshore exposes rough sleepers to significant health risks.
“There’s no shortage of local compassion, support and effort to find better accommodation for these people: it’s the lack of crisis and temporary accommodation and social and affordable housing on the peninsula that is hampering these efforts.
“We are asking the state government to help us to help these vulnerable members of our community.
“We have a number of ideas to help our homeless community but we need the support of the government to be able to explore these further and find some real, sustainable and immediate solutions.”