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Rudd government refuses to commit new money for homelessness

Minister calls on PM to reinstate long-term funding for homelessness
Brisbane 7th August 2013. Housing Minister Tim Mander has called on the Federal Government to reinstate long-term funding for homelessness support services in Queensland.

Mr Mander said Kevin Rudd should stop talking and start acting this week, during Homeless Persons Week.

“What better time for Federal Labor to start walking the walk on homelessness funding,” Mr Mander said.

“Kevin Rudd supposedly made homelessness a priority during his first stint as PM, yet his government now refuses to commit any money to a National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness beyond the middle of next year.

“This is an insult to vulnerable people and has created great uncertainty for homelessness support providers, many of whom operate on extremely tight budgets.”

Mr Mander went out on the streets of Brisbane last night with a Micah Projects Street to Home team to get a firsthand look at the challenge ahead.

"While the majority of homeless people are not sleeping on the streets, there are still far too many who are,” he said.

“While it would be nice to think that we will be able to completely eliminate rough sleeping, the situation is never quite so simple. One thing we can do, however, is to make sure that if people do sleep rough, it’s not because there are no other options.”

The Newman Government recently launched the Homelessness-to-Housing 2020 Strategy, which aims to halve the current rate of homeless by 2020.

Mr Mander said the strategy would deliver ‘bricks and mortar’ initiatives to address the root causes of homelessness and provide those in need with skills to move away from being homeless.

“In the first stage we will develop supported accommodation facilities, including 40 bedrooms in Townsville, 20 bedrooms in Redcliffe and 40 bedrooms in Cairns,” he said.

“We will also provide extra dwellings to expand the Street to Home program so it can continue its outreach model of linked accommodation and support and respond quickly to short-term accommodation needs.

“By working with service providers, we will create a ‘one-stop-solution’ that brings together housing, support and specialist homelessness services.”

Homelessness Community Action Planning groups around the State are involved in a range of events which are available on the Department of Housing and Public Works homepage at www.hpw.qld.gov.au

Local homelessness events can also be found at www.homelessnessaustralia.org.au