Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Unprecedented Funding for Crisis Accommodation

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, today said the Howard Government’s commitment to support people needing crisis accommodation could not be questioned.

“Under the new Supported Accommodation Assistance Program (SAAP V) the funding will be increased by nearly $350 million, bringing the total to an estimated $1.8 billion over the five years of the agreement,” Senator Patterson said.

“The Australian Government’s contribution is an unprecedented $932 million with, for the first time, the State and Territory Governments matching the Australian Government’s funding.

“A key feature of SAAP V is the establishment of the $120 million Innovation and Investment Fund which will identify ways to reduce the number of people who require and who return to SAAP services for assistance.

“This would include improving pre-crisis intervention, post-crisis transition and links to other relevant services, like employment support and mental health services.

“In addition, the Howard Government has more than doubled its funding for the National Homeless Strategy to $10 million over the next four years.

“The Australian Government’s focus on prevention is further demonstrated through over $10 million in funding provided for the HOME Advice Program, which helps families at risk of becoming homeless.

“The Howard Government takes its responsibilities of helping vulnerable people very seriously and Labor Senator, Kim Carr’s attempt to use a tricky and self-serving breakdown of Australian Government funding to SAAP services is simply ludicrous,” Senator Patterson said.