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Outreach ramps up to protect homeless

Published: 7 April 2020

More than 100 people have been helped into safe accommodation in less than a week as part of the NSW Government’s push to protect the homeless from COVID-19.

 

A homeless person lying on a street sleeping

Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services Gareth Ward said almost 100 homelessness assertive outreach patrols will be conducted in Sydney in the next fortnight to ensure some of our most vulnerable citizens have a roof over their head. 

“Our goal is to have people currently sleeping on our streets moved into accommodation to help keep them safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Mr Ward said.

“Assertive outreach patrols include housing staff, specialist caseworkers and health professionals who will be engaging with rough sleepers every day in Sydney.

“Many rough sleepers have existing health conditions which place them at greater risk, so we are doing everything we can to get a roof over their head as soon as possible.”

Following last week’s announcement of $34 million to boost temporary accommodation and private rental assistance packages, an extra 300 hotel and motel rooms have been booked to house people who are homeless.

The government has also established a new Inner City Homelessness Taskforce to coordinate the response, which includes the Department of Communities and Justice, NSW Health, St Vincent’s Health, Neami National, the City of Sydney and NSW Police. 

Mr Ward said the government is also ramping up support in regional and rural NSW.

“We have been running assertive outreach in the City of Sydney since 2017, and now we are accelerating the expansion to new areas so that we can engage people sleeping rough and assist them into accommodation,” Mr Ward said. 

“Ultimately we hope that we can move people from temporary accommodation into stable housing with wrap around supports that help them sustain their tenancy.” 

Anyone who is homeless or at risk of homelessness can call Link2home on 1800 152 152, where specialist staff will provide tailored, individual solutions, including temporary accommodation. 

Family & Community Services
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