Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 1 Hansard (13 February) . .
When I investigated this, when the reports were first made last year, it was very difficult to get the numbers because none of these people came forward to get support. But that does not mean that Housing ACT and the street to home program do not work actively to ensure that, if they are aware of people who are sleeping rough, who are couch surfing or who are not the actual tenanted person within a residence, they are supported in any way that they can be. We invite the tenants, if it is the case that they have somebody couch surfing in their residence, to let us know, so that Housing ACT can support them appropriately.
MS LAWDER: Minister, why were these impacts not more adequately addressed and mitigated in the assessments you conducted prior to the closure of the complexes, given that the numbers at the EMC have shot up?
MS BERRY: The numbers have not shot up, as I have explained on a number of occasions in this place. We continue to have the lowest number of rough sleepers in the country. The people who attend the UnitingCare early morning centre are not necessarily all rough sleepers. A lot of them are tenants of Housing ACT and go to the early morning centre to get the different kinds of support that the early morning centre provides to everybody, not just to people who are experiencing rough sleeping.
MR HANSON: My question is to the Minister for Housing and Suburban Development. Minister, on 28 December the Canberra Times reported that a five-year-old public housing block in Lowanna Street, Braddon has stood vacant for almost two years. Minister, why has this complex been vacant for so long when there are desperate homeless people throughout the inner south and the inner north of Canberra?
MS BERRY: Yes, I am aware of that report and I do have some information that I can provide the Assembly on the reasons why that particular group of Housing ACT residences has been vacant for some time. What I might have to do, because I cannot easily put my finger on it right at this moment, is take that question on notice and I will provide some more information very shortly.
MR HANSON: Thank you, Minister. What actions have you taken personally to deal with this problem?
MS BERRY: Sorry, Madam Speaker, I might just have to get an explanation. The problem of Braddon or—which problem?
MR HANSON: The problem of the vacant public housing in Braddon. What have you done about it?
MS BERRY: I have done a number of things, and I have sought advice and have received advice every step of the way from Housing ACT, and from planning as well, to ensure that the housing that we provide for people who need it is the best possible, most sustainable housing all across the ACT, including here in the city.
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