3126—Community Services—FOOD

 DISTRIBUTED TO HOMELESS

Ms Hale to the Minister for Primary Industries, Minister for

Energy, Minister for Mineral Resources, Minister for State

Development representing the Minister for Community Services—

In relation to food distribution to homeless persons in inner Sydney by the Exodus Foundation:

  1. What is the government doing to ensure the continuity of the essential food van services that Just Enough Faith provided to homeless persons?
  2. What is the Government doing to ensure that the quality and quantity of the food is maintained, until a permanent replacement for Just Enough Faith’s services is selected?
    1. Will the Minister or her representatives undertake to meet with the homeless people in inner Sydney who were formerly assisted by Just Enough Faith, and now by the Exodus Foundation, to discuss and address their dissatisfaction with the current level of food services?
    2. If not, why not?

Answer—

(1) & (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.

 

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.

 

(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.

 

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.

 

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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