Media Release by The Hon Brendan O’Connor MP

Homelessness services to be recognised with awards

Australia’s hard-working and dedicated homelessness sector will be recognised with the second National Homelessness Services Achievement Awards, Minister for Housing and Homelessness Brendan O’Connor announced today.

Mr O’Connor launched the 2013 Awards today to mark World Homeless Day.

“Both World Homeless Day and the Awards are an opportunity to raise awareness of the needs of homeless people, acknowledge the efforts of people working to support them and encourage others to help out,” Mr O’Connor said.

“We know that far too many Australians do not have a place to call home every night.

“This Government has made tackling homelessness a national priority and is committed to halving the rate of homelessness by 2020.

“But we know we cannot achieve this ambitious goal by ourselves without the tireless work of organisations around the country which are providing help and support to vulnerable Australians.

“The National Homelessness Services Achievement Awards allow us to recognise this outstanding work, and give the broader community the chance to learn more about the great lengths our organisations go to in working to prevent and break the cycle of homelessness.

“They also raise awareness of the factors that contribute to homelessness.”

The inaugural awards last year attracted more than 130 nominations. The finalists showcased Australia’s high calibre responses to young people, Indigenous Australians, families and other groups at risk of homelessness.

“Importantly, they showed that a pathway out of homelessness is possible for people who receive the right support at the right time as a result of services, government, business and community all working together,” Mr O’Connor said.

“This Government is determined to tackle housing affordability and homelessness, and has invested an unprecedented $20 billion in housing and homelessness services and programs since coming to office.

“Indeed, we have made a direct financial contribution to one in every 20 homes built around the nation since 2008.

“We’ve also been working with States and Territories, business, charities and the community through the $1.1 billion National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness.”

Nominations for the National Homelessness Services Achievement Awards close on Friday 18 January 2013.

The winners will be announced at an Awards event in 2013 in Parliament House, Canberra.

Community members are encouraged to nominate a high performing service they know in one of the seven categories:

•             Excellence or innovation in addressing homelessness by an organisation;

•             Excellence in the prevention of, or early intervention in, homelessness;

•             Outstanding business or philanthropic commitment to addressing homelessness;

•             Excellence or innovation in partnerships in delivering services;

•             Excellence in addressing Indigenous homelessness;

•             Excellence in supporting pathways to employment or education;

•             Excellence in addressing homelessness in a regional, rural or remote location.

To nominate an organisation in the 2013 National Homelessness Services Achievement Awards visit:

A list of last year’s winners is below.

Media Adviser: Maria Hawthorne 0407 015 986

2012 Winners

Excellence or innovation in addressing homelessness by an organisation
Maroondah Halfway House VIC

Maroondah Halfway House, in partnership with Brenda House, has developed Victoria’s first state-wide integrated domestic and family violence, homelessness and disability response that focuses on addressing each woman and child’s practical and emotional needs and issues arising from the violence – while attempting to find accommodation that is most appropriate to the woman’s individual circumstances.

Excellence in the prevention of, or early intervention in, homelessness
Rural Housing Network- The Early intervention to Sustain Affordable Housing Program, Victoria

The Early Intervention to Sustain Affordable Housing Program run by Rural Housing Network aims to bridge the gap between the private rental sector and the people at risk of experiencing homelessness in Wodonga. It provides practical help such as financial assistance, help with completing applications and referrals to other support agencies in the Wodonga and Albury border areas.

Outstanding business or philanthropic commitment to addressing homelessness
Kids Under Cover and Hocking Stuart Real Estate, Victoria

Kids Under Cover (KUC) is a pioneer in the prevention of youth homelessness through its Studio program, Scholarships program and the Mentoring programs. Hocking Stuart Real Estate has partnered with KUC to further raise funds and awareness of the organisation.

Excellence or innovation in partnerships in delivering services
Wentworth Community Housing- Project 40 Supportive Housing, New South Wales

Wentworth Community Housing is the lead agency for Project 40, and provides supportive housing for chronically homeless, highly vulnerable people who struggle on the margins of the Nepean/Blacktown region of outer Western Sydney.

Excellence in addressing Indigenous homelessness
Children’s Service Support Unit – Wadeye Safe House, Northern Territory

CSSU Wadeye Safe House provides a safe place for women and children who have experienced family or domestic violence or are otherwise at risk in the Wadeye Community. It aims to improve overall wellbeing for these women, which also creates long term benefits to the Wadeye community.

Excellence in Supporting Pathways to Employment or Education
Southern Youth and Family Services Association Inc, New South Wales

Southern Youth and Family Services (SYFS) has been helping young people and their families and who are vulnerable, disadvantaged and experiencing homelessness to get back on their feet.

SYFS brings together a range of mainstream and specialist services that provide high quality ‘wrap around’ services aimed at supporting young people vulnerable to homelessness in pathways to employment, education and training.

Excellence in addressing homelessness in a regional, rural or remote location
Life Without Barriers- Assertive Outreach Services Program, South Australia

Life Without Barriers’ Assertive Outreach Services have helped many individuals and families in Riverland (SA) who are sleeping rough to resolve a current crisis, re-establish family links and re-establish their ability to live independently. The program aims to address barriers to long-term housing by providing proactive and holistic services.