Funding pressure looms


Neighbourhood houses, including those in Wyndham, may be forced to cut back services if they don’t receive a funding increase a state opposition MP has warned.

Throughout Victoria there are more than 400 neighbourhood houses which deliver vital services, especially in regional areas.

Neighbourhood Houses Victoria has appealed for additional funding of $2.5 million to be shared across the network and Northern Victoria MLC Wendy Lovell said their request must be met.

“Neighbourhood houses provide invaluable benefit to the community, and the government must do what is necessary to ensure these Houses remain sustainable into the future,” she said.

Neighbourhood houses provide services such as toy libraries and book swaps, English classes and internet access, Men’s Sheds and childcare, community gardens and communal lunches, arts and crafts, and food banks.

In a statement, Ms Lovell said these services are delivered by 5500 staff, and almost 7000 dedicated volunteers, who receive 10 million visits a year and give out 2000 tons of food relief.

She said for a service that already runs on a shoe-string budget, cost increases and a shortfall of funding seriously threaten the long-term sustainability of the program.

Ms Lovell’s statement also said indexed funding increases for neighbourhood houses are not keeping pace with real inflation, and without urgent support the food banks will soon have to start turning people away.