Homelessness is turning into one of the major issues state-wide and locally for both sides of government as the March NSW state election approaches.
Minister for Social Housing Pru Goward and Member for Tweed Heads Geoff Provest announced on Monday that Tweed Heads is one of two new locations that will see an ‘assertive homelessness outreach service’ rolled out in 2019. Up to 115 rough sleepers in Tweed Heads will be supported into long-term housing each year as part of the NSW government’s expansion of the successful program.
Ms Goward said the government had committed funding of $1.8 million over three years to roll out assertive outreach in Tweed Heads.
‘As well as providing stable housing, we will also provide people experiencing homelessness wraparound support to ensure they have the help they need to stay off the streets,’ she said.
We need to be proactive to build trust
‘We know we need to be proactive in the way we engage and build trust with people sleeping rough. We have seen the benefits of assertive outreach and supporting people into long-term housing in Sydney, now we are taking it to the regions.’
Goward says that since assertive outreach began in the Sydney CBD in March 2017, almost 300 people have been permanently housed and more than 94 per cent of tenancies have been maintained, but Tania Mihailuk MP, NSW Shadow Minister for Housing, and Shadow Minister for Family and Community Services says that it’s the Liberals and Nationals who have put many of those people on the streets in the first place.
10,236 more homeless people under Libs and Nats
Mihailuk says that, according to an independent NSW Parliamentary Library paper, there are 10,236 more homeless people under the NSW Liberals and Nationals.
‘Homelessness has increased by a massive 33.8 per cent since the NSW Liberals and Nationals were elected in 2011, nearly four times faster than any other state or territory in Australia,’ she said.
‘This comes as the Berejiklian Government headed to court earlier this week to defend their $2.2 billion splurge on Sydney stadiums.’
Stadiums under the spotlight
Mihailuk says the stadiums were awful priorities as more people in NSW are living homeless.
‘These figures come to light a week after Premier Berejiklian didn’t know the number of homeless people in NSW when she was asked at a press conference.
‘Young people and elderly Australians are the hardest hit, with 50 per cent more people aged 19-24 living homeless under the Liberals and Nationals.
‘These people may be living rough, couch-surfing with friends and family, some live out of their cars or in
other precarious forms of temporary accommodation.
‘A Daley Labor Government will not splurge $2.2 billion on Sydney stadiums, will build more affordable housing through mandatory affordable housing targets on new developments, and will be making further policy announcements on this issue prior to the election.’
Goward and Provest say the NSW Government is investing more than $1 billion to support people experiencing homelessness by helping to break the cycle of disadvantage, giving people choices and restoring their dignity to ensure they live happier and more secure lives.