Housing service agencies in limbo over funding delays

The future of local housing services hangs in the balance, with decisions on vital government funding further delayed.

Expected announcements on a $2 million state government package under the National Agreement Partnership Against Homelessness (NAPAH) funding in April were postponed. This has left many services, including Southern Youth and Family Services' lauded youth foyer accommodation service, in limbo.

"Without the NAPAH money, the foyer will be defunded," said Southern Youth and Family Services chief executive Narelle Clay.

"It is a flagship service, has met all targets, and is a leader in this country for youth services. The big loser will be youth."

The foyer provides accommodation, employment and study support. More than 30 people live at the Mangerton complex, which will close without NAPAH funding.

"The Illawarra can't cope with further reductions in support for young people," Ms Clay said.

"It's a terrible process to leave us hanging at this late stage."

A spokesman for Family and Community Services could not confirm when funding announcements would be made but said more information on the Going Home Staying Home program would be released soon.

"Once the tender outcomes have been announced, the department will contact providers to discuss the next steps and offer support during the implementation phase," the spokesman said.

Natasha Topoljski, 20, has recently moved into the foyer with her young children. She said the service had helped turn her life around.

"I didn't know where I was going at the start of the year, but they helped me realise I could do more and achieve better," she said.

"It's great to have other people my age to talk to as well."

The Wollongong Homeless Hub and Shellharbour TAFE are joining for the SOS Homeless Charity Event, aiming to draw attention to the struggles of housing agencies.

The event, at Wollongong North Beach on June 7, is a community fun day that ends with a candlelight SOS sign on the beach.

"We're all in limbo at the moment, just trying to keep services for our clients," said Julie Mitchell, of the Homeless Hub.


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