The NSW Government plans to cut funding for vital homelessness services in the inner city. But it is not too late to tell the Minister for Family and Community Services, Gabrielle Upton, that we stand alongside vulnerable people in our community.
When the NSW Government announced its plan to reform funding for homelessness services, I voiced concerns that vulnerable people in the City would be left worse off.
The City of Sydney's most recent street count found there were 346 people sleeping rough in the city's streets, parks and public places - up from 274 people in February last year and the highest count since winter 2011.
This number doesn't include the many women who have no choice but to stay in violent or unstable accommodation instead of risking sleeping rough on the street.
The Government's Going Home Staying Home Reform Plan is designed to stop people at risk of homelessness drifting to the inner city by providing a range of specialist services where they live.
However, to provide these new prevention services in other areas, $6 million in funding is being taken away from current inner city homelessness services and programs.
These homelessness support services are vital to women who may be exiting domestic violence, dealing with complex mental health needs, drug and alcohol addiction and or who are survivors of child abuse.
It is expected that up to 20 women's refuges will close their doors for good, but many of the women who rely on them cannot go home or stay home.
If the NSW Government's Going Home, Staying Home reform continues as planned, small independent homelessness services - especially those for women - will close. Some already have.
It is not too late to tell the Minister for Family and Community Services, Gabrielle Upton, that we stand alongside vulnerable people in the inner city.
I urge you to write to her to let her know you want these services to have ongoing and stable funding.
Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to her
The Hon. Gabrielle Upton, MP
Level 33 Governor Macquarie Tower
1 Farrer Place
SYDNEY NSW 2000
For more information on the City's support for people experiencing homelessness visit the City's website www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/community/community-support/homelessness.