AS demand for housing and homelessness services continue to rise across the region, local agencies argue not enough funding has been put aside for emergency support.
Bendigo housing and homelessness service provider Haven; Home, Safe said the pandemic has exacerbated existing demand.
"The reasons for the increase we are seeing from people needing access to specialist support services is multi-faceted - the pandemic has created a lot of challenges for people," Haven; Home, Safe deputy chief executive Trudi Ray said.
"Regional and rural mental health services are stretched, there are not enough qualified people to do this work and it takes time to increase the supply of workers as they go through education and training," Ms Ray said.
The Haven deputy chief executive said the service was under "pressure" to meet the needs of the growing number of community members accessing housing support services.
A report in March this year found almost half of all Bendigo renters were experiencing financial stress.
While the Victorian government's $5.3 billion 'Big Housing Build' is set to increase total state housing supply by 10 per cent, targeted emergency homelessness funding is lacking.
"We appreciate the significant investment into housing through the Big Housing Build, however there is no new funding for homeless services to support people in housing crisis," Ms Ray said.
Ms Ray said the service would now have to change staffing protocols in order to cope with the surge in demand.
"With a lack of investment in staff funding, organisations like Haven; Home, Safe need to come up with innovative and contemporary ways to meet the demands," she said.
"Therefore, we're investing in transforming our services and our core systems to ensure we're working efficiently as possible to better support our clients."
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