(10.15am, Tuesday 4 June 2013, Sydney Town Hall Vestibule)
Thank you, Andrew [Everingham, MC and founder]. Good morning, everyone. Welcome to Town Hall. I'd like firstly to acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, the traditional custodians of our land, and to pay my respects to their Elders. I also acknowledge the people of 200 nations who live in our City.
I would also like to acknowledge Peter Drurie, who is the co-founder of Sydney Homeless Connect alongside Andrew Everingham. I welcome you to Sydney Homeless Connect.
We are committed to providing practical support to homeless people - we do more in this area than any other Council in the State.
Services the City Homelessness unit offers are:
- Our Homeless Persons Information Centre - takes calls from about 16,000 people and families in crisis a year
- The City jointly funds the Way2Home assertive outreach program with HNSW - W2H has housed over 170 people since it commenced operations in 2010;
- The City jointly funds Homelessness Brokerage Program operated by YWCA - provides assistance to approximately 1000 people or families a year to prevent them from falling into homelessness.
- Coordinate bi-annual street counts of rough sleepers
- Run the monthly Woolloomooloo Integrated Services Hub - a mini Homeless Connect - that brings over 20 different organisations together in the same place each month to provide coordinated outcomes to people who are homeless or at risk in housing
The City is doing all it can to support new affordable housing stock, with a target of 15 per cent of homes in our LGA classed as affordable or social housing by 2030.
At least 900 new affordable housing units have been built or are being built as a result of our Affordable Rental Housing Strategy, with a total target of 3,000.
I call on the Federal and State Governments to urgently resolve a National Partnership Agreement to fund long-term programs that have had proven success in the inner city and elsewhere - programs like Way2Home, Platform 70 and Common Ground.
I have recently written to the Premier to ask the NSW Government to:
- Commit to funding a new supported housing in the inner City and surround local government areas
- Increase the funding for assertive outreach services to enable on-going intervention and support tenancies
- Ensure Housing NSW is resourced to allow trained staff to better manage tenancies to prevent people becoming homeless and
- To ensure adequate provision of social and affordable housing in the inner City to prevent increased homelessness
I thank all of you - these fantastic volunteers and your companies who support you in Sydney Homeless Connect.
It's a magnificent effort and by bringing homeless people together with the services they need, you will provide them with a much-needed lift. I'm really proud to welcome everyone here today to your Town Hall.