Media Release by The Hon Brendan O’Connor MP

Putting a spotlight on support for homeless people

Homelessness service providers and peak bodies from across New South Wales today met in Newcastle to share experiences and examine the progress being made to reduce homelessness across the state.

Minister for Housing and Homelessness Brendan O’Connor and Federal Member for Newcastle Sharon Grierson said the 2012 Homelessness NSW Conference, Getting Results, provided an ideal opportunity to share knowledge on what is working and what more needs to be done to support those who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness.

“This conference provides valuable opportunities to take stock, see what has been achieved, and learn how we can work together more effectively into the future to combat the challenges of homelessness both here in Newcastle and across the state,” Ms Grierson said.

“Many of the Gillard Government’s innovative projects are having a real and positive outcome– over 58,000 assistances were provided to those at risk or experiencing homelessness in 2010-11 in New South Wales alone.

“Programs like Newcastle Assertive Outreach Service which offer people who are homeless, including rough sleepers, access to support, such as health and specialist services, counselling and homelessness support, long term housing options, as well as specialist legal outreach support.

“This wonderful service, which receives over $6.5 million funding over five years to 2013 from the Gillard Government under the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness, is having a real and positive impact in the community with more than 480 clients offered a variety of support in 2010-11, and over 110 people access to stable accommodation.

“While progress is being made, more needs to be done to reduce and prevent homelessness in our community. I encourage all levels of government, the community and business sectors to work together to do all we can to support vulnerable Australians.”

Mr O’Connor said the Gillard Government had already made significant inroads in reducing and preventing homelessness through a $5 billion investment in homelessness initiatives across the country since 2008.

“All Australians deserve a secure and affordable home and homelessness is a complex challenge,” Mr O’Connor said.

“The National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness is part of our efforts with the New South Wales Government to reduce and prevent homelessness by delivering sustainable housing and keeping people connected with the community.

“Under this National Partnership, both the Australian and the New South Wales Governments have agreed to invest $392.30 million to deliver 53 new or expanded homelessness initiatives across the state.

“All levels of government must work together to deliver quality services and improve access to sustainable housing to help these vulnerable people get back on their feet.

“Homelessness is a serious issue, and the Australian Government has made it a top priority.”