Uniting Ballarat's new executive officer Annette Kelly-Egerton says housing, homelessness, employment, mental health and disability support should be key issues on the political agenda leading up to the federal election.
Ms Kelly-Egerton began working in the role in late March, after former executive officer Sean Duffy stepped down from the leadership role in December.
Wendy Ferguson filled the role as acting executive officer role since November.
She brings more than 30 years experience in the social services sector, developing and managing community services throughout Canberra and New South Wales at Barnardos.
You think of the challenges finding accommodation now. What will those challenges be like with an increasing population?Annette Kelly-Egerton, Uniting Ballarat
Ms Kelly-Egerton has begun working in Ballarat with a view to constantly improve the quality of services and work towards a vision of Ballarat as a place that values and accepts all members of the community and supports them to thrive.
She acknowledges demand for social support services will continue to rise, particularly as Ballarat's population increases at a rapid rate.
"I think demand nationally is continuing to go up. But the demand has changed over the years," she said.
"It used to be we would have men in particular who required housing. We now have such a significant cohort of women needing housing, both young and old.
"We will play a role in advocating to the federal government for investment in housing.
"You think of the person who is homeless now and the challenges they have with finding accommodation now. What will those challenges be like with an increasing population? You can expect it is going to get worse."
Uniting Ballarat's crisis entry point data revealed in December housing issues, stagnated wage growth and the high cost of utility bills was pushing more people in Ballarat toward financial crisis.
In the 2017-2018 financial year, Uniting provided more than $230,000 of crisis and emergency relief for 1,677 families and individuals in Ballarat needing urgent food and housing support.
Data shows residents in Ballarat required the second largest amount of support when compared to other regional areas in Victoria.
Ms Kelly-Egerton begins the leadership role at a a time of change, where funding support is allowing the beginning of new programs and an expansion of staff.
Work at the old Uniting furniture shop on Albert Street is underway to host the Breazeway Meals Program.
Ms Kelly-Egerton grew up in Inglewood near Bendigo before studying at university in Melbourne and living in Canberra with her husband and four children for the past 30 years.