Our History

The VHF assists the homeless in a number of areas including building and renovating houses.  Partnerships are formed between the VHF, Land Providers, Sponsors, the HIA Foundations and Charitable Organisations working in the housing sector.  As a result houses are built or renovated, or other activities are carried out to relieve homelessness. 

The VHF was founded in 1987, the International Year of Shelter for the Homeless, and is an independent charitable organisation; our charter is to work solely in the area of homelessness.  The organisation is managed by a volunteer committee of dedicated people.  The HIA generously provides administrative support and the HIA Foundation assist by sourcing materials and supply from supporters in the industry.

During 1997, the Tenth Anniversary of the VHF's establishment, the Committee decided to undertake a new direction to better position the VHF for the future and to improve its effectiveness in assisting the homeless. The aim was to directly intervene in alleviating the crisis situation in housing, which existed due to historically low rental vacancy rates and record public housing waiting lists, by funding the establishment of a number of emergency accommodation houses around Melbourne.

The Committee initiated the new project in which the Victorian Homeless Fund would become a direct participant in an innovative and unique, cooperative emergency accommodation project.

'The Houses Project' is the culmination of a partnership between the Victorian Homeless Fund, the Victorian Government Department of Human Services Office of Housing and the Housing Industry Association Foundation.

Through the involvement of the Housing Industry Association Foundation, which is represented on the Victorian Homeless Fund's Committee of Management, the houses are renovated with the assistance of many organisations and individuals donating both materials and labour. These donations have been an invaluable component of the project's success.

The houses are managed by the relevant Transitional Housing Manager in the area in which the houses are located. The houses are tenanted for periods of up to 12 months, by families who have either been homeless, or have faced homelessness through eviction, unemployment or sickness.

Ultimately, the long term aim is to ensure a network of emergency accommodation for the homeless across Victoria. Homelessness continues to be a difficult problem to resolve, not only because of a lack of resources, but also is due to the changing profile of individual homeless persons. Families and youth now make up a large proportion of the homeless population. Further accommodation resources for families and youth are urgently required and the Fund's Houses Project offers assistance to meet this need.