Woolloomooloo Public Housing Meeting

(10.30am, Thursday 11 October 2012, Juanita Neilson Centre)


Welcome everyone.

I'd like to acknowledge the original custodians of our land, the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, and pay my respects to their elders both past and present, and I acknowledge the people of the 200 nations who live in our city.

Thank you everyone for coming. Since we last met in May, a few key projects have been underway and I'd like to give you a brief update on these. We also have representatives from Kings Cross Police and Housing NSW here this morning, and Dom Grenot, the City's Public Housing Liaison Officer.

First up, the City has recently conducted a Community Safety Audit with local police, Housing NSW and other NGOs. This involved looking at issues such as general maintenance, lighting, signage, trees, parking and graffiti. The findings from the audit have been circulated and a second draft is about to be sent to everyone involved. A small working group will be formed and meet monthly to implement recommendations from the report.

In relation to alcohol restrictions, when we last met the City was about to consider proposals to create further Alcohol Free Zones and Alcohol Prohibited Areas. At our June meeting, an Alcohol Prohibited Area was created for Tom Uren Place and surrounds and a number of other streets became Alcohol Free Zones. There are maps available showing all of the areas and zones affected.

The Memorandum of Understanding between the City and Housing NSW continues to play a key role in finding solutions for many issues. Senior staff from both organisations meet monthly to support tenant groups, improve safety, organise community events, coordinate upgrades to public spaces, and look at issues such as waste and pet ownership.

The City has also been continuing to work with rough sleepers and other agencies and services to improve amenities and the management of public spaces. We've just completed our ninth street count. In addition we continue to research the demographics of local rough sleepers and the costs of maintaining homelessness versus providing rough sleepers with supported housing.

We've also been providing support to agencies such as the Woolloomooloo Integrated Services Hub. The Hub brings about 14 agencies together once a month to provide a coordinated service delivery to local homeless and social housing residents, including agencies for health, education and employment.

The City is also working with the St Vincent's health outreach team as part of the homeless outreach service Way2Home, to increase the provision of mental health, substance abuse and primary health care to rough sleepers. We're also continuing to monitor and work with the many mobile food services in this area.

Finally, for those of you who haven't yet got involved and would like to, there's a fantastic range of programs and activities being run for the young and old. The Juanita Nielsen Centre and the PCYC have employment support, recreation and sporting programs for young people, and the City's Over 55s team produce a GOLD - Growing Old Living Dangerously - brochure with free and affordable programs around the City. These brochures are available today, so have a look and join in.

And for those of you keen to exercise your green thumb, the City's Bourke Street Park community garden is now open and TAFE is running a certificate course in community gardening from there once a week. We've also been talking to the police and the community about installing a tram there to be used as a men's shed.

Thank you again for coming - and I'll hand over to our other speakers.