A REVIEW is being held into the trial of allowing homeless people to stay long-term at Mornington Peninsula foreshore reserves.
The shire’s community partnerships manager Chris Munro said soaring rents and property values had led to an increase in the number of peninsula residents at serious risk of becoming homeless.
“This includes many elderly residents, as well as women and children fleeing family violence. Most will end up couch surfing or sleeping in their car, but there are some who run out of options and may end up rough sleeping,” he said.
“For the past year we have been working with local homeless services to make 12 foreshore camping sites available for temporary crisis accommodation during camping season.
“We are currently reviewing this after 12 months of operation,”
Mr Munro said the foreshore camping ground was a “last resort” option for a small number of people.
“At the end of camping season there is always the challenge of supporting people to transition to other accommodation options and our staff work closely with outreach workers in support of this,” he said.
“There is no plan to have people who are homeless permanently accommodated on the foreshore.”
Council was lobbying state and federal governments to pay for social and affordable housing on the peninsula, as well as crisis accommodation.
“We are also advocating for measures to balance the number of short-term rentals and long-term rentals, and for funding for outreach workers to engage directly with residents at risk of becoming homeless,” Munro said.
“While the primary responsibility for the provision of social and affordable housing lies with the state government, council is looking at the potential to use shire-owned land for housing.
“We have identified sites in Hastings, Mornington, Rosebud and Capel Sound and have asked our community for their thoughts, as well as inviting housing providers to submit expressions of interest in potentially working with us.
“We are in the early consultation stage and no council decision has been made yet”.
Rumours that the shire is considering allowing homeless people ongoing access to the Rosebud and Capel Sound foreshore camping areas and toilets has outraged some residents.
David Peel told the News he would “stand on the steps” of the civic centre to strongly oppose the move, due to the “attitude and the mess” of people sleeping illegally on the foreshore.
“They should be moved on, as I cannot imagine this happening at Mount Eliza, McCrae, Sorrento or Portsea,” he said.
“I need an urgent answer as I will be doing a door knock in the area to obtain signatures to oppose this sneaky proposal by the shire.”