The transition of the old ICHOSS Homeless services contract for the Sydney Metro area to Neami Ltd, will be of significant benefit to a very few extremely disadvantaged and/or mental health affected homeless people. For those of us not afflicted with such “disadvantages”, the transition may be in a small way detrimental.

It seems that by target definition, the limited housing available under this organisations contract will go to mental or other health related clients, in keeping with long-standing Housing Department policies,with additional supporting services as the person may require. As a homeless person, if you are still in control of your faculties, have no drug alcohol or other dependency issues, or in other words are not an employment generator for at least one support professional, forget it. But this model will work for a very few people, and my interest is to see that especially those dumped unceremoniously from the Mental Health System by a succession of Liberal and Labor Governments, get these housing placements -notwithstanding my disagreement with the overall policy. There are a significant number of people in Sydney City who simply do not have the ability to fend for themselves “on the streets”- who lack the basic skills or abilities to access adequate food & ad hoc shelter, and these accommodation units should go to them.Unfortunately, these accommodation units are being taken from the State Housing pool, impacting on the number of these placements available to prospective social housing tenants not lucky enough to be so afflicted. There is the issue of these people simply being shifted via a cruelly applied stint on the streets from the health budget to the homelessness budget -some might consider a cynical government exercise in cost shifting. There are several who consider that some of the people who are “most eligible” should be in care institutions-including some of the “most eligible.” Neami Ltd have a mandate to support these people in private residential accommodation. I wish them well.

From our discussions this afternoon, following my meeting with Neami Ltd management, our lingering concern is that a very limited number of housing placements, taken from “social housing stock”, will be dangled as bait, in a program which really aims to identify clients for “other services:”  We have seen a succession of these social engineers and so called professionals whose expertise is really to shift the focus and have people become “clients,” while providing services of no lasting benefit to clients. Vinnies Matthew Talbot, Catholic Social Services and a plethora of others have played this game with our communitys lives -and very profitably