Woolloomooloo reaches breaking point

(Member for Sydney)

Clover Moore MP has called on the State Government to step up its response in dealing with the impacts of homelessness in Woolloomooloo.

Ms Moore said a dedicated Place Manager for Woolloomooloo was urgently needed.

"I attended a community policing meeting last night with 70 residents and homeless people, all of whom are just fed up," Ms Moore said.

"Housing NSW is responsible for addressing homelessness in Sydney and is a major landlord and property owner in Woolloomooloo but they have shockingly turned their backs on the community by refusing to attend any community meetings - leaving public tenants angry and frustrated.

"Residents and homeless people were screaming at each other in frustration because they have not been getting the help they need and there is increasing conflict between different parts of the community.

"Despite years of calls for action on homelessness, the Government and successive Ministers for Housing have left Woolloomooloo residents alone to suffer the impact of 60 to 90 people sleeping rough," Ms Moore said.

"The current Government must take responsibility and send a senior Housing NSW officer to the area today to talk to the community and the new Government on March 27 must treat solving the issues as an absolute priority," Ms Moore said.

Ms Moore said dedicated place management helped sort out similar problems in Surry Hills.

"In Surry Hills, the Community Development Worker fixes local problems quickly and get all agencies to coordinate services and action," Ms Moore said.

"We need a Woolloomooloo Community Development Worker to get immediate action on local issues, rather than residents having to wait for the quarterly policing meetings that Housing NSW doesn't attend.

"The Housing NSW office in Woolloomooloo is only open a few hours a week, and could house a full time Community Development Worker.

"The City of Sydney is doing more than any other local government authority to address homelessness and has been filling in the gaps left by Housing NSW for years - the City runs the Homeless Persons Information Centre, funds an outreach worker who works with rough sleepers, organises bi-annual homeless street counts, and funds referral and support services in the area.

"However Councils have a limited ability to solve homelessness and the State Government, who are responsible, needs to finally take action.

"Research shows that the best way to help homeless people is to get them into housing and help sort out the underlying causes such as addiction and mental illness that led to them being on the street.

"Housing NSW should urgently lease their vacant Cathedral Street commercial properties and fill other vacancies quickly, build new homes at the long vacant 174 Dowling Street site and improve their poor cleansing standards.

"The Government must give priority to Woolloomooloo rough sleepers in the Camperdown Project, which will provide 88 units for homeless people with support they need to get back on their feet.

"The groundbreaking 1974 Woolloomooloo Tripartite Agreement set up new public housing and we need a similar coordinated approach now.

"I'll be pushing the new Government to sign up to a Vancouver-style agreement in Woolloomooloo, where national, state and local governments work together on significant city-based projects.

"Kings Cross Police are overwhelmed dealing with alcohol-related crime and anti-social behaviour, and don't have enough officers to respond to anti-social behaviour incidents such as street drinking, public urination and noise complaints.

"I've been calling for extra inner city police for several years - it's time the Government allocated extra police so there is a strong street presence in Woolloomooloo," Ms Moore said.

"Government agencies have been unresponsive and passing the buck from agency to agency for far too long.

"Enough is enough we need all levels of Government involved and all agencies working together - Woolloomooloo residents deserve better," Ms Moore concluded.

Media Contact

For media interviews, comment or other

communications enquiries, please contact:

MEDIA@CLOVERMOORE.COM.AU 

or call +612 8974 4165 (media calls only)

For the latest City of Sydney media releases, go to SYDNEYMEDIA.COM.AU