Media Release by Senator the Hon Amanda Vanstone

Belconnen Community Service – Preventing Family Homelessness

Today I am officially launching the Belconnen Community Service Family Homelessness Prevention Pilot called ‘HomeBase’.

The project is part of the National Homelessness Strategy and specifically targets an area where there is a high risk of family homelessness.

We know that homelessness doesn’t happen overnight. It is an unfortunate fact that many families in the community experience a downward spiral before they become homeless.

Many families at risk of homelessness have high levels of personal debt, rely on emergency relief assistance and move between temporary forms of accommodation.

These factors often indicate a family is under stress and needs help.

Belconnen Community Service has been allocated funding of $300,000 over two years to help prevent family homelessness.

In June this year, I announced eight successful community organisations from around Australia that have been chosen to implement the Family Homelessness Prevention Pilots (FHPP). Belconnen Community Service was the organisation approved to take on this task in the Australian Capital Territory.

By combining the expertise of government and local communities, the FHPPs will help us to better understand the problems that can lead to families becoming homeless.

Families participating in the pilot will have access to free family, community and housing support services.

Extra funding has also been provided so that local Centrelink staff and social workers can provide intensive, high priority support to families, backing the efforts of the local service providers.

This approach reflects our view that it is far more effective, in terms of the costs to both families and the community, to try to prevent homelessness rather than fix the problems when things go wrong.