The Ministerial response to Ms Hales valid and relevant questions, may well have been provided by France’s Empress Marie-Antoinette, of “let them eat cake fame.” The response demonstates the departments determination to persevere with supporting tired self beneficial structures within the department and its contractors, and not assisting homeless or marginalissed people.

The disappointing response from the Minister to the question put by Ms Hale on 13th May ( http://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/prod/lc/qalc.nsf/18101dc36b638302ca257146007ee41a/87903a78de63f12cca2575b5002ec64b!OpenDocument )  has Sydneys Homeless community struggling to fathom which (if any) of Ms Hales questions the Minister provided answers for- or if the Ministers intent was merely to use this question as an opportunity to further promote the departments cosy and costly relationship with its poverty industry service providers. 

 In the ministers response at paragraph 3 ;

“The Department currently funds a range of support services, including day programs across inner Sydney, which provide meals. These services include Matthew Talbot Hostel and The Station. People previously accessing Just Enough Faith will be able to access these and other support services for meals in the area.  “

                                                                                              the minister demonstrates both a stunning lack of comprehension of the services which her departmental contractors  provide, as well as a callous disregard for homeless people.

Does the minister know that women and Children cannot eat at The Matthew Talbot Hostel?

 Does the minister  who can use the Station Ltd’s services? (see below in red).Or that the Station does not provide an evening meal. 

“The Station Ltd drop in centre is for men and women 21 and over who are experiencing homelessness and/or unemployment.

We are a service that targets individuals with disabilities, mental health issues and/or drug and alcohol issues, culturally and linguistically diverse peoples, aboriginal and Torres Straight islander peoples and those who are chronically homeless and sleeping rough.”

          The Station Ltd | 82 Erskine Street, Sydney |   (02) 9299 2252            http://thestationltd.org/who.htm1) & (2) The NSW Government is committed to preventing and reducing homelessness and commits significant resources towards programs to assist those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

Is the Minister prepared to acknowledge that under her departments 

cavalier arrangements, there is in fact NOWHERE in Sydney City for Women under  21, children or families to access hot meals?

The Ministers Answer in plain text. Our response in bold

 

 The Department of Community Services (DoCS) funds the provision of accommodation and support services to people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness through the Supported Accommodation Assistance Program (SAAP). In 2008-09, this joint Commonwealth-State program provided funding of $123.6 million for around 400 projects to provide a range of accommodation and supports to assist people to resolve their homelessness. These services help people, including families in crisis, single adults, young people and women and children affected by domestic violence.

The Department currently funds a range of support services, including day programs across inner Sydney, which provide meals. These services include Matthew Talbot Hostel and The Station. People previously accessing Just Enough Faith will be able to access these and other support services for meals in the area.

 The Commonwealth Government’s White Paper, The Road Home: A National Approach to Reducing Homelessness sets out strategies which aim to halve overall homelessness in Australia by 2020 and offer accommodation to all rough sleepers who need it by 2020.

 Currently, the NSW Government is involved in a range of national and state initiatives that seek to develop a more effective response to homelessness including: the National Affordable Housing Agreement; the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness; and the NSW Homelessness Action Plan.

 The Department of Community Services, and other agencies with responsibilities in this area, are currently contributing to the development of the NSW Homelessness Action Plan which will form the basis for the Implementation Plan for the National Partnership on Homelessness.

 The NSW Government will establish new governance arrangements to oversee the NSW Homelessness Action Plan in 2009⁄10,  in consultation with key non-government peak homelessness organisations.

The “peak homelessness organisations” with which the department states it will consult are the same organisations who for decades have benefitted from ever increased government spending and support, while continuing to provide inappropriate services (whether by way of inappropriate location, inappropriate culture or inadequate services.) NCOSS Member The Trustees of the Society of St Vincents de Paul(NSW) operated Matthew Talbot Hostel referred to by the minister in this answer is an excellent example. Between 1999 and 2006 Matthew Talbot Hostels funding increased annually by tens of percents, while the number of bed nights per annum halved.

 (3) A range of agencies in the inner city offer food services to homeless people and people at risk of homelessness. These services are offered through a variety of settings: van services that outreach to people on the street and centre based programs.

Which of these foodvan services offers timely reliable and consistent quality hot nutritious meals each night of the week?

 The City of Sydney and the Department of Community Services have been working together on a range of strategies with day programs and food services to increase coordination and integration of programs to ensure homeless people are assisted out of the homelessness cycle rather that sustained in sub-standard conditions.

In the Federal Government white paper on

 

The Department’s main aim through SAAP is to connect people to services that offer assistance to transition them to more sustainable options. In meeting with homeless people the Department would seek to understand what type of services people are seeking to assist them to gain more in the long term.

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