State government’s new Homelessness Strategy 'quite Sydney-centric', Vinnies Illawarra representative says

Peter Quarmby (left) and Danny Munk will be among those sleeping out to help Illawarra's homeless. Picture: Greg Ellis

Peter Quarmby (left) and Danny Munk will be among those sleeping out to help Illawarra's homeless. Picture: Greg Ellis

A representative of the Illawarra branch of Vinnies says the state government’s new Homelessness Strategy is “quite Sydney-centric”, but hopes the region can still benefit from some initiatives.  

The state government has pledged $61 million in new funding over the next four years to implement its Homelessness Strategy. 

Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Treasurer Dominic Perrottet and Minister for Family and Community Services and Social Housing Pru Goward recently said the NSW Budget 2018 commits $1 billion for homelessness services over the next four years to support new and existing initiatives.

This includes $61 million in new funding over the next four years to implement the strategy. 

St Vincent de Paul Society’s Wollongong Diocesan Central Council executive officer Peter Quarmby said they always welcomed such initiatives from government, and hoped they would be targeted enough to assist those people who are sleeping rough.

“It does on first glance look to be quite Sydney-centric,” he said.

“But in saying that, we hope that we’ll be able to put our hand up and for those people who are in the Illawarra and Shoalhaven may be able to get some support from that.

“If nothing else, Vinnies and like organisations are able to continue to highlight to the community and in particular to government that there is a significant need in non-metropolitan areas for these services.

“There is a growing need, unfortunately, for these services to continue.

“We would like these initiatives to be taken into account when considering regional areas and non-metropolitan areas.”

The new funding over four years includes $20 million for homelessness social impact investment; $10.6 million for sustaining tenancies support, by addressing complex needs such as mental health and drug and alcohol issues;  $9.1 million for additional transitional accommodation; and $6.9 million for co-located homeless and health services.

The new funding also includes $4.7 million for universal risk screening and supports to respond early to young people at risk; $3.8 million for assertive outreach to proactively support rough sleepers; and $6.2 million to expand the Staying Home Leaving Violence program to five new sites. 

Mr Quarmby is also encouraging the public to donate to the 2018 CEO Sleepout, which is taking place at St Mary’s Star of the Sea on June 21.

Funds raised from the CEO Sleepout will help Vinnies provide food, accommodation and support services to those in need across the region.

To donate, click here