Improved homelessness services for NSW

Published 1st August, 2014

NSW Premier Mike Baird, Family and Community Services Minister Gabrielle Upton and Member for Menai Melanie Gibbons today welcomed the signing of the first contracts for new and improved homelessness services as part of the sweeping Going Home Staying Home reforms.

Mr Baird, Ms Upton and Ms Gibbons personally congratulated Wesley Mission and its nine local partners on their success in a $500,000 tender to assist homeless families in the Liverpool and Fairfield areas -- one of 149 agreements across New South Wales being locked in from today.

Going Home Staying Home is the most significant reform of homelessness services in a generation,” Mr Baird said during a visit to Wesley Noreen Towers in Ashcroft.

"It delivers more money and better services to tackle homelessness.

“All up, we will be investing record funding of more than half a billion dollars over the next three years – a boost of 9 per cent.

“In some cases, management of those properties will change, with the goal of even better outcomes and a more integrated approach.

Going Home Staying Home will deliver more services where the problems first emerge, in our suburbs and in our towns.

“Vital crisis accommodation will be complemented by early intervention services aiming to stop people becoming homeless in the first place.

“Here in South West Sydney, Wesley Mission will be working closely with its local partners to make a difference for young families at risk of homelessness.”

Under Going Home Staying Home, service providers will take a more holistic approach to the needs of people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

Wesley Mission will continue to support inner-city homeless people, and the initiatives will support the expansion of services to families and young people, as well as women and

children escaping domestic violence through centres like Wesley Noreen Towers, which has assisted 74 parents with 193 children during the past two years.

“The Going Home, Staying Home reforms have not only maintained services for crisis accommodation but addressed the need for prevention,” Wesley Mission CEO the Rev Dr Keith Garner said.

“The new reforms will mean a more integrated approach across communities and opportunities to break the cycle of inter-generational homelessness.”

Dr Garner said he was also pleased to see more funding directed to suburban and regional areas.

“For more than a decade, Wesley Mission has been witnessing a drift of homeless people from these areas to the inner-city and has long advocated for a more considered approach to this trend,” Dr Garner said.

“We are now moving from piecemeal approaches to a more strategic model of service delivery with wrap-around specialist support services to help people at every step of the way. We look forward to working with our partners in providing lasting solutions for the homeless.”

Contracts under Going Home Staying Home were awarded using a transparent and rigorous selection process.

Ms Upton said, “The new providers and their partner agencies are working to make any transition to the new services as smooth as possible.

“Those providers who were unsuccessful in the tender process have not been forgotten.

“The Department of Family and Community Services is in talks with unsuccessful providers to support them through the Service Support Fund, with full funding for up to18 months.

“On the eve of Homeless Persons’ Week, it is timely to reflect on the reality that homelessness is a complex problem.

“Many people require more than one type of assistance to help them get their lives back on track.

“These reforms will make it easier for someone to access the entire system, whether that means urgent placement in crisis accommodation, rental assistance, counselling or help finding a job – or, as is often the case, a combination of supports like these.

“Specialist services will continue and women will not share accommodation with men.

“The ‘no wrong door’ philosophy of Going Home Staying Home makes this access easier and more logical with a single phone number - 1800 152 152 to access the right services.”

Published 1st August, 2014