Help for Vic homeless amid coronavirus

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An extra $6 million will be given to Victorian homelessness agencies with extra resources to find temporary housing for rough sleepers during the coronavirus crisis.

The state government cash will help organisations obtain private rentals for those at risk of falling into homelessness.

On top of the money, alternative pop-up accommodation will be created for homeless people requiring quarantine or self-isolation in Melbourne, where the majority of cases are currently concentrated.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is going to have wide-ranging impacts across our community, but those experiencing homelessness who have nowhere else to go, will be hit particularly hard,” Housing Minister Richard Wynne said in a statement.

An information campaign will be run through public housing communities and extra staff are working in the 13 estates which mainly house elderly tenants, who are particularly susceptible to the virus.

Security, essential maintenance and cleaning service providers are increasing preventative measures across all public housing estates – performing additional cleaning of communal areas and providing anti-bacterial sanitiser.

While inner-city businesses will also get a $10 million shot in the arm.

The City of Melbourne council meeting on Tuesday night endorsed a stimulus package which includes suspending fees for food act registrations and street trading permits for three months.

Rents will also be halved for eligible tenants in council-owned buildings and a business support summit will be held at Melbourne Town Hall and screened online.

A rates hardship policy will be developed by the end of March and opportunities will be given to redeploy 200 casual and part-time staff to “work on improving city cleanliness and presentation”.

So far Victoria has officially recorded 94 cases of COVID-19.

Of the state’s confirmed cases 63 were acquired overseas or through close contact with known, confirmed cases.

There are two cases of community transmission, while the source of 29 cases are still being investigated.

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