The state government has reassured Lismore residents that there will be no loss of homelessness accommodation for women and children escaping domestic violence.
Concerns were raised recently that women and children would be left without crisis accommodation in Lismore after management of the Lismore Women’s and Children’s Refuge lost out in a tender process.
Greens candidate Adam Guise and refuge supporters had rallied outside Lismore MP Thomas George’s office calling for the refuge to be saved.
Lismore MP Thomas George said yesterday however that the refuge was ‘definitely not closing’ and that negotiations were underway to secure premises.
‘A couple of candidates were insinuating that it was closing but the new tenderer was always going to provide a refuge,’ he told Echonetdaily.
‘Women Up North are the current contractors but they didn’t win the tender. On Track won and they are negotiating for new premises in Lismore,’ he said.
‘It’s definitely not closing. I believe there are some negotiations underway to stay in the same residence and if that wasn’t successful they would be looking for new premises.’
A NSW Department of Community Services spokesperson also said there would be no loss of homelessness services, especially for Aboriginal women escaping domestic and family violence.
‘Across NSW, no government owned property that is used for crisis and transitional accommodation will close as a result of the Going Home Staying Home reforms,’ the spokesperson said.
‘Specialist services will continue and women will not share accommodation with men.’
The spokesperson said services for women and children in the Lismore area would be easier to access and better suited to the needs of the community.
‘Five of the six new services for northern NSW will support women and children in Lismore who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
‘This includes two specialist services for women and children escaping domestic and family violence, with funding of $2.3 million per year for these two services.
The spokesperson said discussions about the future management of the Lismore refuge were ‘progressing well’.
He said the northern NSW district would receive $6.53 million per annum under the Going Home Staying Home reforms, a funding increase of $1.03 million or 19 per cent.
People needing help because they are homeless or at risk of homelessness, or those who are worried about someone they know becoming homeless can call the new 24 hour Link2home referral service on 1800 152 152.