Baird Government cuts threaten Wollongong housing hub

Missing out: Wollongong Emergency Family Housing's Julie Mitchell with Shadow Minister for Housing and Women Sophie Cotsis and Wollongogn MP Noreen Hay outside the Wollongong Emergency Family Housing office. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

Missing out: Wollongong Emergency Family Housing's Julie Mitchell with Shadow Minister for Housing and Women Sophie Cotsis and Wollongogn MP Noreen Hay outside the Wollongong Emergency Family Housing office. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

The NSW opposition spokeswoman for housing and women, Sophie Cotsis, and the Member for Wollongong, Noreen Hay, have called on the state government to guarantee the survival of the Wollongong Homeless Hub.

The hub, on Crown Street in Wollongong, is a collaboration between Wollongong Emergency Family Housing (WEFH) and Wollongong Women's Housing (WWH).

The service has given more than 1500 clients access to welfare assistance, legal advice and real estate agents since opening in October, but after both WEFH and WWH were left unfunded in the state government's latest round of homelessness funding, the hub's future has been left in the balance.

Visiting WEFH yesterday, Ms Cotsis and Ms Hay expressed outrage at the service missing out on funding.

"The reforms mean we are losing services built by local experts," Ms Cotsis said.

"It's the theme I'm hearing all over the place: people are concerned about cuts to local services."

Julie Mitchell, manager of Wollongong Emergency Family Housing, said 76 per cent of her clients had received help to secure private rental accommodation. Ms Hay said the success of the hub showed it was worthy of funding.

"If these reforms are not about just saving money, why not fund a successful scheme?" Ms Hay asked.

"The stats show it was doing a magnificent job."

Ms Mitchell said WEFH would apply for 18 months' additional funding under the government's Service Support Fund.

WEFH is now managing 198 case plans, including people housed in WEFH's own properties and people who had sought help at the hub, and Ms Mitchell said the service was suffering from a lack of certainty and security.

"It's difficult when we don't know if we will get through," she said.

Ms Hay said she would be petitioning the government for further funding for the homeless hub.

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